October 30, 2009

Free Halloween Card!

People become more giving around holidays, no matter what holiday it is. On Christmas you get presents, on 4th of July you get fireworks, on Thanksgiving you get turkey and on Halloween you get candy.. and free Halloween cards of course! Just print, cut, fold and enjoy.

Click here to download

October 29, 2009

Vintage Gifts

I received this beautiful gift last night from my dad who came to visit. While not the biggest shopper in the world, I was pleasantly surprised to hear this! I was thrilled when I opened my present, especially after he exclaimed, ' I saw this and thought of you'.

I thought this gesture was very special and the mirror is of course gorgeous (and exactly my style) I love the tarnished imperfections and the wonderful pattern carved on the back.

I couldn't have picked out a better gift myself!

October 28, 2009

Cupcake Logo.. yet again!

This week I had the pleasure of working with the UK based cupcake company: black vanilla cupcakes. While I am seriously thinking of changing my title as designer to 'cupcake designer' (maybe not so serious), I absolutely love working with these companies because they are so passionate about what they do.

Inspired by both the companies philosophy and their love of travel and exotic ingredients and by my own surroundings (as noted in the previous post). I wanted the logo to incorporate a sense of luxury and foreign exoticism. Thanks Black Vanilla for the inspiration and the chance to design for your great up and coming cupcakerie!

October 27, 2009

Sources of Inspiration

Inspiration, in my opinion is what makes a design successful. This fabric was just the inspirational touch that my mind needed to get me thinking and designing in a different direction. It is easy for designers to get into a comfortable routine, designing around things and images that they know very well but it is important that we break those patterns and allow creativity to wander and pick up on details and directions that you never would have thought of.

I found this gorgeous fabric at a yard sale and snatched it for a whopping $2 (even though the old rusting price tag was still stapled on which read 2 yards for $127!) I knew I had found a great steal and not only will I make something beautiful out of it (still undecided as of what) but it has also allowed my mind to wander in new directions, picking up on its subtle hints and throwing me a little bit out of my comfort zone. I will share the results soon...

October 26, 2009

Stamp of Love

I absolutely love the 'king and queen love stamps' designed by NYC designer, Jeanne Greco. I had never heard of this artist before but after doing a bit of research on the stamp I was able to find its origin. Usually reluctant to choose between one ugly stamp and the next, I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with this design as an option during my last visit to the post office. Of course I jumped with excitement when I noticed that I could purchase something well designed from the postal service! If only the rest of the country could recognize the importance and beauty of design and incorporate into American culture as well. Until then, I will enjoy these lovely love stamps and keep my fingers crossed...

October 23, 2009

A Fresh New Look

This week I decided to 'refresh' my look (design wise that is). I decided it was time to re-design my image from my website to my blog. While the website is still in its testing phase, I would love any comments and concerns regarding its layout and function: www.dukdesign.com


October 22, 2009

Vintage Treasures : Prague

Over the summer, in between my internship in Paris, I journeyed to Prague for a few days to see a completely different side of Europe. I figured Czech culture was very different but I never imagined it to be that different! It was like nothing I had ever experienced but overall I brought back only great memories. I also brought back this amazing vintage Czech Fashion magazine dating back to 1967.

I don't know enough about fashion to comment on the clothing being displayed but what I found interesting, as a graphic designer, was the rigid and stiff poses of the models.

The fonts used are also angular, stiff and sharp, almost reminding me of the constructivism movement.
Instead of stashing this vintage treasure away in my bookcase, I decided to display a few of my favorite pages in frames so I can enjoy their greatness everyday and constantly remind myself of the extensive world out there that is sometimes so easy to forget about.

October 21, 2009

Website Design

This week, I had the pleasure of working with Ben Newhouse, an extremely talented music composer for film and concert. While usually websites take weeks, even months to be completed, the combination of Ben's preparation and my eagerness to design allowed for us to complete the project in merely a week. You can view the website at: www.bennewhousemusic.com

While the overall design might seem a bit much (especially for my design style), the point was to appeal to Hollywood where 'a bit much' is never enough.

We used flash to design the site (even though some say that is a big 'no no' because of lack of SEO recognition) but it allowed for the integration of Ben's music throughout and a cleaner, more sophisticated overall look.

Thanks Ben for all your hard work and it was great working with you!

October 20, 2009

Packaging Design: Trader Joes

There's something about Trader Joe's that keeps me driving the extra 8 miles just to go to the grocery store. It could be the amazing prices, the unique organic items or the delicious tasters but most likely, it is their attention and appreciation to design and packaging.

Like most grocery stores, Trader's has their own generic line but it is anything but generic. Their packaging is flexible enough to relate to a box of cereal just as well as it relates to the above body wash. I am usually pleasantly surprised that I am instantly drawn into the 'generic' item instead of the boutique option.

Outside of their own brand, they seem to gravitate towards selling brands that are also well composed and nice to look at. This re-affirms my philosophy that if there is care and love in the contents of the product, the packaging will and should reflect that as well.

October 19, 2009

Finds of the Week: Vintage Clothes

Saturday has become my official garage sale day. Start the day off early, check online for the real good sales in the area and off we go! This weekend we found a few mediocre sales (pricing everything insanely high!) and one amazing one-of-a-kind sale.

The sale was hosted by a guy in his 30's and woman around the same age. The guy was filmmaker/artist and had boxes and boxes filled with old Print Magazines and great old collectible art books. I'm not sure what the girl did but she had piles and piles of amazing vintage clothing and shoes. The only downfall was that all of her clothes were about 8 sizes too big for me. Somehow I managed to find these great theory pants that only need some slight alterations and this amazing green silk 'skirt' which is now my lovely day dress. Along with a sweet black belt and a gold clutch purse, my total came out to a whopping $4. Now I really can't justify shopping at a normal store! Good find, Great week

October 16, 2009

Oh Joy! Cupcake & Champagne

I was fortunate enough last night to attend Joy (of Oh Joy!) Cho's Cupcake and Champagne party last night at Abbott Kinney in Venice. The event was held at the Urbanic paper shop, a great place for browsing and inspiration to say the least!

The cupcakes were delicious but the best part of the night was meeting and talking with Joy, definitely an inspiration of mine! She offered great advice for us young bloggers and designers expressing that it takes time and effort and a lot of patience, so stick with it!

We finished off the night at the lovely photo-booth; such a great addition to any party!
Thanks to Joy and Urbanic Paper for throwing a great event!

October 15, 2009

L.A. Fashion Week

Last night I was invited to watch the launch of Popomomo's new collection at L.A. Fashion week downtown. While usually not the biggest fashion enthusiast, it was great to see what was out there and going on in the fashion world.

Popomomo's new collection is completely sustainable which is one of the few trends I'm willing to jump on board for. The clothes were very feminine, flirty and really understood and worked with the female body.

The show was designed to offer an alternative to the everyday runway show, creating somewhat of an instillation show revolving around the involvement of the models and the sculptural work.

All the clothes were completely wearable, which was refreshing to see on a runway.. not too pretentious but very realistic and practical. All in all, a great and entertaining show!

October 14, 2009

Judge a Product by it's Package

So I know we were all taught not to judge a book by it's cover (or judge a product by its package, in this case) but I believe exactly the opposite. When choosing my books and products I take into account every detail from what's on the inside to what's shown on the outside. If the packaging of a product seems to be thrown together without much thought or care, I really can't trust that the product itself was treated any better.

While scientists, authors and product engineers aren't necessarily trained in visual design, I would hope they would care enough about their product to invest wisely in it's aesthetics. This 'Befine' packaging design is yet another case of good packaging that drove me to a purchase. While searching for a good night time moisturizer, I was flooded with a see of overly corporate and cluttered products until my eye caught a glance of this product.

Simple, elegant, and gets to the point. It doesn't promise to make you look 30 years younger like the others but instead simply states the real life benefits of it's all natural ingredients. Sometimes people underestimate the power of telling the truth.

October 13, 2009

Cafe Stella : Décor

This week I'm so happy we ventured out of our norm and tried a new Friday night date spot. We ended up at Café Stella and had no idea what to expect. My first impression was the great french country almost vintage inspired decor.

While I'm not a big fan of the whole taxidermy idea, I must say it definitely added to the ambiance along with great oil paintings and sketches by various artists. The overall design was very eclectic but extremely well composed. Two thumbs up in my book.

We were pleasantly surprised when our food arrived because it very well could have been lovelier than the atmosphere itself. While a bit expensive for a weekly trip, I will definitely be back for those semi-special occasions that I love to celebrate!

October 12, 2009

Downtown Los Angeles: Fabric District

Over the weekend I ventured over to the Fabric District in downtown L.A. I had been dying to check it out for a while and living so close, I can't believe it's taken me this long!

When it comes to fabric shopping, I'm pretty used to my little boutique neighborhood shops down the road but the fabric district was quite the opposite. Basically a street lined door to door with dozens of fabric shops filled with rows and rows of endless patterns.

I must admit, I was a little disappointed with the selection but we managed to walk away with these steals at least. 3 yards of fabric for a total of $5. Maybe not the best quality ever but definitely worth the money!

October 9, 2009

Bathroom: Before & After

I'm still waiting for the day when I can completely renovate and decorate an entire house the way I want it, but as a renter, I have to work within a lot of restrictions. I did find little ways around some of the big fix up issues though.

This was my bathroom sink area when I moved into our rental house. The covers were peeling off and the doors weren't aligned correctly, all in all, it was a daily eye sore! Not wanting to spend a fortune on fixing the whole thing up, I opted for a more temporary fix.

After some contemplation, I decided to finally put to use this lovely fabric I purchased a while back in NYC and never really knew what to do with it. One curtain rod and a yard of fabric later, I had a nice and pleasing cover for the unbearable cabinets behind. The colorful pattern added a much needed burst of liveliness to the room as well.

October 8, 2009

Free People : Re-Usable Shopping Bag

This past week I did something unusual for me... I shopped at a retail store! The only place I found success though was at a new nearby Free People store. I think I was so attracted to everything in the store because their entire collection was designed around the ideas of vintage. I was very happy with my finds but even happier after the purchase! They nicely folded the items and put them in this great cloth bag. I was so excited that they took that extra step to be apart of the 're-use' fad (even if it's only to say they are green) because any small change helps. By making it so attractive it will help one step further because people will be more inclined to carry it around making it useful while shopping and getting groceries. I hope to see more store follow this practice in the near future!

October 7, 2009

Jasmine Tea Packaging

While shopping recently at my favorite neighborhood asian market I was struck by this beautiful and engaging tea packaging. At this market I am used to seeing screaming visuals and obnoxious graphics piled on top of each other (which adds to the Asian inspired theme of the place) but these tea cans were a breath of fresh air. Not only did they provide my eyes with a nice break but it was also interesting to see that they were in different languages: English, French and Chinese. I love the variation, giving the consumer a choice and consequently, keeping them engaged longer. There is something about this Orange/Yellow that I just can't resist (see my last post for proof!)

October 6, 2009


These two items are high up on my wish-list for the week. I saw these great 'flowers' at my local coffee spot but have yet to figure out what kind they are or where to purchase them. Does anyone know their name? They seem like such a great alternative to the everyday flowers and look like they could last a long time.

I can't seem to get this one out of my mind since I saw it at the thrift shop down the road a few days ago. I can't wait for the day that I own my own house to fill it with treasures such as this great old Spanish style sink. If it's still around next week I might take it as a sign and use it as a lovely outdoor planter for the meantime.

October 5, 2009

All About the Buckle

A belt can make or break an outfit. They are great attention grabbers and a good way to spice up an ordinary outfit. Unfortunately they have become a part of the trend movement as well and one year your supposed to wear the biggest belt ever made and the next it's supposed to be as thin as a shoe string, it's just exhausting. Of course, I'm not a big fan of following these trends so instead, I like to choose my belts by their buckle.

This belt I found at a thrift store and I just love the combination of the cream leather and the tarnished metal clasp. It hooks together so delicately and adds a whimsical touch to any outfit.

This is one of my favorite garage sale finds. I snatched this bright orange belt for the bargain price of $2! It's Hermes orange (although definitely not an Hermes belt) works wonders with black and white. The strangely shaped gold clasp is so 80's, I wish I knew where it originally came from.

This little Prada belt was also a bargain find. Sadly its nearing the end of the road with me because I might finally be outgrowing it.. uh oh. But I love how the buckle just clicks right into place almost like a seat belt and you know once it clicks you're fastened in tightly for the rest of the day!

October 1, 2009

Sweets La Petite: Logo Design

I recently had the pleasure of working with the lovely Stephanie Bushnell of Sweets La Petite in redesigning her company logo. Of course this only adds to my personal label of the 'cupcake logo designer' but I must admit that I really enjoy working with clients who are very passionate about their trade. Cooks and bakers put so much of themselves into their goods and that's exactly how I feel about design work as well. It is so personal and individual but you also get to share it with the rest of the world and it truly becomes a satisfying experience. Thanks again Stephanie for being such a pleasure to work with!

Masa : Tablecloths

I think I have found my favorite local lunch spot in town. Not only is the food delicious and beautiful, the decor is a refreshing modern french country and they absolutely love it when I bring my Frenchie, Frankie, along (and he gets home made doggie treats!) Almost too good to be true!

Instead of showcasing their whole cafe, I thought I would start small and show their wonderful tablecloths. With about 6 different variations, I love these colorful lace-like patterns, each so unique on their own but also work so well together.

A lot of restaurants and cafes have settled on the matching table theme where every table is exactly the same but there is something exciting about choosing your table when things are mixed up a bit. You find yourself drawn to a particular table without really knowing why (most likely the color)

Although such a simple gesture, I think it's a great way to bring a little eclecticism into the cafe and break the norm, even if the every day costumer would never think twice about it.