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Observation

Buttermilk Goes to Boston: Part 4

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 3, Part 2 and Part 1

Well May is practically here and we are thoroughly freaking out prepping for our presentation. So in-between feverishly finishing our slides and rehearsing we spent a little time virtually exploring Boston and picking out all the fun stuff we’d like to do after we *hopefully* knock our presentation out of the ballpark (Fenway maybe?). Follow along below and if you’d like a handy guide you can visit and download our Jauntful map.

Alex’s Picks

Where I want to eat:

Island Creek Oyster Bar | islandcreekoysterbar.com

Even though I know Andy doesn’t necessarily “fancy” oysters the way I do. I know he will be down for going here with me anyway based solely on the fact that the brand identity and website design are freaking amazing. And, there’s buttermilk biscuits on the menu. Done.

The Beehive | www.beehiveboston.com

Another great design. What can I say? I’m aesthetically driven. This place is known for great live music and even better grub. There’s a reggae/jazz/soul band playing there our first night in the city. So, if our presentation is all zipped up and ready to go, we might reward ourselves with some live music and cocktails! 

B & G Oyster Bar | bandgoysters.com

Yeah, I know this one isn’t going to happen. I’d be pushing my luck to get Andy to agree to another oyster bar. But this one looks really nice too and I love the food photography on their website. Who knows, maybe he will fall in love with oysters?!

Hei La Moon

This restaurant is on the outskirts of Chinatown and I keep reading reviews of this place having great dim sum. Not sure if we will make it over to that area, but I’d love to try it.

Lollicup Coffee and Tea

Everywhere I go, I look for bubble tea. 

Where I want to shop:

Camper | www.camper.com

I’m always on the lookout for cool shoes. Not just for myself but for my husband and toddler as well. This place might be a great spot to pick up a couple of “travel gifts” for the family.

Olives & Grace | www.olivesandgrace.com/

A seemingly adorable gift shop which features small producers, artisan makers and emerging artists locally and from across the country. I love these types of shops!

Marimekko | us.marimekko.com

I’m a total sucker for the Marimekko style. So, needless to say, since I’ll be in Boston, I’m definitely going to try to pop into the Marimekko store. If for nothing else, at least a coffee mug or this oven mitt.

Other areas of interest:

Beacon Hill, Acorn Street

The cool thing about attending the HOW conference with Andy, is I never know where our travels may take us. We both always seem up for anything and open minded. If we have the time and the gusto, I’d like to check out Acorn Street in Beacon Hill, which is a historic neighborhood with picturesque architecture and cobblestone streets. Sounds like a lovely area to stroll and decompress.


Andy’s Picks

Where I want to eat (let me just say Alex picked out some amazing picks above, so i’m merely adding a little bit to her extensive list):

Falafel King

Alex and I have a pretty good track record of finding some great falafel shops in the cities we visit so Boston should be no different! While we take our stroll through Beacon Hill we’ll have to make our way to Falafel King. From the looks on Yelp its the perfect mix of no fuss eatery and some tasty falafel platters. Plus one reviewer said they are in fact the “king of all Middle Eastern foods in the City of Boston.” How can you go wrong with that?

Samuel Adams Brewery | www.samueladams.com

So it’s not exactly a restaurant but I would love to make our way over to tour the Sam Adams brewery. Say what you will about Sam Adams I think its pretty good stuff and while there are tons of other smaller craft brewers i support there’s just something about taking a tour and then tasting a beer so closely associated with the City of Boston. 

Where I want to shop/visit:

Black Ink Boston | blackinkboston.squarespace.com

I’m a sucker for great art supply stores, which Black Ink is, but they also have so much more. I’m not really in the market for anything, but thats the great thing about this store- it has just about every quirky thing you’ll ever need. I’m thinking we can just head over there and I’ll see what speaks to me.

Oat Creative | www.oatcreative.com

So you know that amazing Island Creek Oyster Bar Alex mentioned above. Well this is the studio behind the design. And ICOB isn’t the only piece in their portfolio- these folks ooze amazing talent. It’d be great to check out their studio and chat with Jen and Rory about their work and their journey. 

Harvard Square

So Alex and I are avid Car Talk listeners so if we have a little bit of time I’d love to head over and see the characters in Harvard Square Tom & Ray are always talking about on the show. Plus who knows- we might even catch a glimpse of those guys!

 

Happy Mardi Gras: A Spotlight on New Orleans Creatives

In honor of Mardi Gras we’re highlighting a few standout creative firms in the Big Easy whom we’ve discovered with the power of the internet. New Orleans definitely has its own style and flavor, whether its food, cocktails, or creative work and the following agencies and creatives have the work to prove it.

Line 58

The first agency is Line 58. While their name is relatively new( they used to go by Zande+Newman) they’ve been around since 1991. Their name comes from the rail line that goes from New Orleans to Chicago and carries the famous “City of New Orleans” train. So with that symbolism in their name, there’s no wonder they embody the spirit of their city. They’ve got some great work all around but these projects really stood out to us.

The Savvy Gourmet

Being in the food retail world ourselves this project is very close to home. Line 58 worked with their client to create everything from visual branding to fixtures and finishes in the store environment. A logo is one thing, creating everything else is a whole other ball of wax that they make look easy. We really like the in-store signage — it looks inspired by old letterpress posters, but with a contemporary spin. They are nice and bold but fit within the space without looking out of place. We also appreciate the thoughtfulness in the elements used in the interior to evoke a modern New Orleans, without resorting to using trumpets and fleur-de-lis.

Image via Line 58

Image via Line 58

The Building Block

The other Line 58 project we’re drawn to is the identity for The Building Block. We really like the use of overprint and transparency to create the “B” letterform, its just so much more interesting that just slapping a B up there and calling it a day. They also did a great job working that transparency into the other brand materials, such as the website’s big green box.

Image via Line 58

Image via Line 58

Thinka

Our next stop is a studio called Thinka. They have some interesting work, and based on what they’re showing in their portfolio they look like they’re a witty group of folks.

Emmett’s Fine Meats & Seafood

Another food retail identity, the work Thinka did for Emmett’s is really great. Its a homegrown butcher shop in New Orleans and the logo really embodies the shop. We really appreciate the industrial/vintage feel with simple typography, nice design flourishes, and a bright color palette. We also like the use of the “New Orleans Louisiana” stamp element used on all the pieces and is a nice consistent recognizable element.

Image via Thinka

Image via Thinka

Pizzacare

The other Thinka work we really dig is the logo for Pizzacare. Its got nice bold sans serif type sitting in a circle that evokes a pizza shape or even a record. The colors Thinka chose for the identity are nice as well and give the warm feeling of a tasty pie. The whole logo feels like its been around forever (in a good way) and looks great really large in a sign as well as on the menu.

Image via Thinka

Image via Thinka

Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer

Our next visit brings us to Nancy Sharon Collins, Stationer. This is a one woman creative powerhouse in New Orleans proper who’s been around for quite some time. She creates incredibly intricate and beautiful designs either for traditional packaging, engraving, or stationery. She even has written a book about the history and context of social stationery.

Liz Claiborne’s Curve fragrances

Who hasnt seen this packaging? Nancy Sharon Collins developed the packaging for this line of fragrances. I remember seeing these on the shelf and loving the hand drawn lettering for “Curve”. It wraps so nicely around each application, one can tell she considered all the different shapes and sizes her design would be applied to. The colors are quite nice as well and feel very luxiourous — a good feeling to evoke in a line of fragrances.

Image via Nancy Sharon Collins

Image via Nancy Sharon Collins

Engravings

We also really love Nancy Sharon Collins’ engravings. She says “Engraving is the highest form of printmaking known” and while we do other forms such as screen print and wood block, we tend to agree with her. She creates beautiful delicate designs as shown below. In the tree example you can almost see every little leaf. In the monogram example theres a nice play of thick line weights and super thin flourishes- wonderful examples of whats attainable when you are a master of you craft. This monogram would be at home on any gate at a Garden District mansion.

Image via Nancy Sharon Collins

Image via Nancy Sharon Collins

CPR+Partners

The final creative shop on our tour of New Orleans is CPR+Partners. Based on the little snippets of their philosophy peppered throughout their website, these folks seem like they’d be really great to work with. A lot of their work is infused with a touch of humor that take a sec to sink in, as well as a little of the unorthodoxy that embodies New Orleans.

Youngs Dry Cleaning

We instantly loved the work they created for Youngs Dry Cleaning. First off the logo is outstanding, great type and colors lending a vintage feel that is right at home with a dry cleaning service. Though they are using what we would consider a predictable color (bluish teal) but they don’t wear it out, using it in all the right ways and places. The other piece of this work we really enjoy are the ads they created — super witty composition and copywriting makes this client stand out from the rest for sure. And each statement I can imagine being uttered with a thick New Orleans accent.

Image via CPR+Partners

Image via CPR+Partners

Whipsie

The other project of theirs that really stood out to us is this packaging design for Whipsie, an alcohol infused whipped cream, which sounds to us like either the greatest invention or the worst idea (because it would seriously cut into our productivity if we got our hands on it.) They’ve really managed to basically make a 21+ version of whipped cream. The packaging for an otherwise boring aerosol bottle has been made to look quite dapper, like its going to a really fancy dinner party. The subtle colors and straight-forward photography definitely gives the customer an idea of what they can do with this product. Theres also something very New Orleans about an alcohol-infused whipped cream.

Image via CPR+Partners

Image via CPR+Partners

And that concludes our tour of some of our favorite New Orleans creative studios. These shops show that the Big Easy is more than just a place for beads and beignets and has some serious creative chops.

Trend Spotting: Black and White with a Pop of Color

This is design direction that we get a lot…. “Black and white with a pop of color”. It usually means simple and modern-ish. A clean and straight forward design.  So, even though this isn’t really a ground breaking trend per se, it is a commonly seen design style that we find very visually appealing.

Below are a few great interpretations of this style. 

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

Image via The Dieline

BUTTERMILK GOES TO BOSTON – PART 2

“Buttermilk Goes to Boston” is a four part blog post about our journey to speaking at this year’s The Dieline Conference. We’ll post an update every month leading up to May when we finally head north to present “Oops, I Became a Packaging Designer” at the conference.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 1

If any of you have ever been in situations which involve public speaking on a large scale (even on a small scale), then you may understand the wave of terror and excitement that washes over you and submerges you leading up to the event. We started riding that wave as soon as we got the phone call and the nod from Andrew and Ivan (of the Dieline).

Are Andy and I excited? Oh yeah, for sure! Are we also terrified and nervous? You bet. And even though we had a defined topic and a description of what we want to address in our presentation, we still need to come up with the details and organize our thoughts and create a presentation around it all. Not to mention the task of figuring out how to make all of that information interesting and most importantly helpful to the hundreds, if not thousands(maybe? who knows?) of faces that will be glaring back at us. *gulp*

So, we shut ourselves away in a room for a couple of hours and began to really look at our design process. How we interact with packaging design. Where we get hung up, where we thrive and how we can ultimately be better. We emerged with some solid direction, an outline and a really great idea… it involves Bruce Springsteen. And, that’s all we can share at this point.

But, do you remember that wave we talked about a few minutes ago? The wave of emotion that takes you from terrified to excited, from paralyzed to heart-racing? We are experiencing the whole gamut as we prepare for this conference. Coming up with the major outline for our presentation gave us a giddy high. We let out a big sigh of relief. Even though we are not even half way done with the work we need to do, we are feeling more and more prepared every day.

Click here to read Buttermilk Goes to Boston – Part 3