Thou Shall Not Consult With thy Neighbor’s Wife for Design Feedback

I’m loving this light-hearted, beautifully illustrated article written by Annica Lydenberg of Dirty Bandits and illustrated by Nim Ben-Reuven, Craig Ward, Ryan Hamrick, Lauren Hom, Juan Carlos Pagan, Joseph Alessio, It’s a Living, Chris Piascik, Isabel Urbina Pena, Alex Trochut and Dirty Bandits.

And as Annica says: “We share these with you because we love you and we want you to be the best Clients you can be.”

Dirty Bandits is a small, Brooklyn-based design firm specializing it typography, lettering and illustration run by Annica Lydenberg.

New packaging design collaboration with Playboy in LA

I’m delighted to announce a new collaboration with Playboy in Los Angeles. I’ll be working on a range of packaging for a yet to be disclosed product range.

It’s interesting to see how the Playboy brand has evolved over the years and with Cooper Hefner assuming creative control of the brand his father launched 64 years ago, now is an exciting time to be working with this iconic brand.

Stay tuned for more details, I’ll share as and when I can.

Increasing trend for album cover murals in Los Angeles

Each time I’ve been to my barber’s on Melrose Ave in recent months I’ve noticed a new album cover mural painted on the wall. Today was no exception with LCD Soundsystem’s forthcoming new album ‘American Dream’ being painted in the same place I saw Calvin Harris’s ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1’ album a month before. This latest mural find was painted by the talented folks over at Hattas Public Murals.

LA is known for great murals with huge block-stretching pieces from artists like Retna, Shepard Fairey and D*Face. But the more commercial facing ‘album cover’ murals are somewhat of a new phenomenon, or at least they are getting more prevalent.

With the world turning/already turned into social media addicts, it’s no coincidence that record labels are seeing the potential of Instagram and Snapchat users to help promote their artists.

There is something very tangible about a painted mural, firstly they generally look great, the walls are often textured and painting over drainpipes and electrical boxes adds that layer of authenticity that is difficult to achieve in printed billboards and posters. There is also the physical relation to the sidewalks. They are normally very accessible making those Instagram photos so much easier to take and to place yourself in the frame.


Having said that, I’m not sure how popular this mural will be, the Twitter backlash has already started by those who don’t like the simplistic approach LCD Soundsystem have taken with this album cover.

There is much debate about advertising versus art when it comes to our streets and cities. Street art origins are based around freedom of expression and having a public platform to show work. But there is no denying that street art is now, for the most part, a commercial enterprise and many artists are paid to place their work and ‘brand’ on walls much in the same way an advertiser pays to have their product on a billboard.

For me, the painted commercial murals are a nice balance. They are showing product but also showing talent in the form of those who paint them, while giving fans those Instagram moments they crave.

And I’d rather have a painted mural ‘product advert’ on a street over an ugly roadside billboard any day.

New website refresh get’s me thinking about website life cycles

I have just completed an update to my website to showcase new work and some of the current web trends such as the use of vibrant colors and more CSS animation. Even though the fundamental UX design and content has not changed significantly, the updates have had a dramatic impact on the overall look of the website.

My previous website launched less than 18 months ago and at the time I thought it looked pretty good, yet when I compare it to this updated website it now feels slightly dated.

This got me thinking. What is the life cycle of the average website and are smaller ongoing iterations better than one big refresh?

I guess it depends on how robust the development side of things are. If your website is not mobile responsive then you obviously need to create a new website using the latest responsive techniques. But if this has already been dealt with then refreshing your website, be it a ‘re-skinning’ with new colors, typefaces, images, etc, or adding new content, the process can actually be quite straightforward.

In recent months I have completed three website refreshes for clients and given the cost of design and implementation versus the results, it turns out to be a surprisingly cost effective project to undertake.

The moral to this story, don’t keep putting it off, thinking it’s some huge costly undertaking, your competitors will be forging ahead while you are left looking at the past, both figuratively and literally.

Punk’s Not Dead at Facebook and AIGA Los Angeles

Don’t just follow your passion. Work passionately. As a touring musician on MCA/Universal Records, the Design Director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, and in his current role as Creative Director in The Factory at Facebook Josh Higgins, realized how important it was to not abandon one’s values. An idea that took decades to understand, Josh will shed light on how to not lose sight of your core values, something designers often allow to let slip away during their chaotic lives.

The above image is part of a series of graphics I created for this AIGA Los Angeles event.

For more information and to register click here.

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