My budding artist

It was a boring day for the children here at traciedesigns HQ, so my 6 year old was nice enough to make some wall art (courtesy of Wiki Stix) for one of our "plain, boring" walls. I think I have a budding 3D artist on my hands!

Up top is the wall art itself. The second photo is the artwork, with a portrait of the artist as a baby above it. Her installation completely brightened my day.

(Also? See that? I tell you I'm going to be offline for the rest of the week, and a couple hours later there's a new post. Who loves you?)

Gone Fishin'

Well, not really. But unfortunately, something came up last minute and I've had to step away from the computer for the week. No, not a real vacation, just life.

I can't promise any new posts this week, but I'll try. If not, then I'll see you next week--promise.


Yum, yum, type

Let's just take a moment, on this lovely Friday afternoon, to admire the gorgeousness that is wood-cut type:

Hello, delicious. Oh, wait--what's that?

These are NOT keyable fonts. They are IMAGES made from scans of actual, hand printed, wood type, suitable for use in any Image Editing Program like Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. You CANNOT TYPE with them. Each letterform or graphic element will need to be hand set one piece at a time... much like using real wood type!

Excuse me, I have to wipe the drool from my chin. Much thanks to my pal Dave from ConnCreatives for introducing me to this beauty, and ultimately, for making my bank account about $330 less.


The flip side of Twitter

It appears Letterman isn't a fan. Here's some cute banter with Kevin Spacey, about Twitter (and it's cost):

Oh, what's that? The fail whale image above isn't a Letterman clip? Oh, right. Due to an epic YouTube FAIL, the video was way too wide for my blog, and as a result, cut off about in the middle (perhaps this is a blog FAIL? No, I think this is a YouTube FAIL). Go here to see the version that is too wide for this space.


Another Twitter post

Sorry to those who haven't jumped on that particular bandwagon, but I gotta. I understand completely that Twitter is not for everyone (my mother just joined Facebook a month or two ago--helping push that 50 and over demographic. Now whenever she hears me talking about Twitter, she gets a little too intrigued: "Twitter? What's Twitter? Should I be on that, too?" Um, no mom. No, you should not be on Twitter). I have an acquaintance who has flat out refused to get on Facebook; every time we talk and Twitter comes up, she can't even wrap her head around the concept.

I, on the other hand, love, love, love Twitter. I follow an eclectic group of people who give me daily inspiration, as well as all kinds of resources, information, news, and laughs. I've heard others say that it's great for those lonely souls who work from home, it's a portal to the outside world; and I couldn't agree more. Not only that, but I feel it's introduced me to a slew of people that I otherwise might not have ever met.

So it was with great interest that I read Suzi Craig's (one of those, I probably would have never met her without Twitter folk) latest post, aptly titled Fear and Lacking in Social Media.

The notion that Facebooking and Twittering and Digging and all the rest will waste everyone’s time is true and false. It can be a time suck if you let it. Just like any type of outreach, you need to focus your time. But, the rules of engagement cannot be all business - these are social settings. Play, make mistakes and relax. You are building relationships and learning from other people and that takes time and effort. I think it is a liability to not play in online communities, whether you’re a recognizable name or bathroom hog Bob. People will talk about you but if you’re not there, how can you respond? Also, this stuff is not going away. The more you blow it off, the more it will bite you in the ass. You can’t hide so give in and learn.

Our fear is focused in all the wrong directions. You should fear getting left in the dust by your competition who has better relationships with your customers. Fear alienating your audiences who want to have experiences with you in a variety of environments, not just the ones you dictate. Fear NOT doing anything, versus doing something. Make mistakes. Let your lawyers scream and roll their eyes. Then, get your company together and talk about a strategy about engaging in online communities. Put some parameters around how they should engage online as a representative of your company, then let them go. If something bad happens, respond, fix it and learn. Repeat. If something good happens, respond, share it and learn. Repeat.

Amen, sista. See y'all on Twitter.


Alexander Girard at Urban Outfitters!

20th century artist (and Herman Miller designer) Alexander Girard's yummy prints and patterns can now be found at Urban Outfitters! Love, love love!


Identity crisis

I'm going through a bit of an identity crisis: my own. See, a couple of months ago, I got it in my head that I needed a new website. Well, really, I do. The old one is looking, well, OLD these days, and a new, pretty site was just calling me.

So I began working (and working, and working) on the next version of traciedesigns. Three-point-oh, if you will. And just as I got the design to a place I was thrilled to be in, I began growing increasingly impatient with my logo. Well, I was already doing all this designing for myself... why not throw a logo in there as well?

The problem is, I'm kind of a hard client to please. I have this one design that I'm favoring, but every time I look at it, I see something else that I want to do to it. Sometimes that little something else works. Sometimes, it doesn't. Either way, I can't keep evolving this logo, otherwise it will never get done, and therefore, be completely useless to me. It's a vicious circle.

So, I guess the point of my post is that something new is on the horizon. Oh, don't worry, there will be much fanfare and song and dance once the new (3.0) traciedesigns is launched. In the meantime, stay tuned...



I stumbled upon this beautiful gallery of monograms today:

Monogram Inc. has a lovely gallery of, well, monograms. Some of the designs are so graphic, so striking. It makes me want to monogram everything!

(found via logodesignlove)


More books by their cover judgement

After the post about book covers last week, it was almost perfect timing when I stumbled upon this brilliant roundup of seven (just seven??!) of Chip Kidd's favorite book covers.

While I don't necessarily agree with all of his choices (Twilight? Really?) I definitely see the reason behind each pick (Twilight. Really).

For an added treat, check out Chip's blog post on the story behind having his Newsweek cover pulled out from under him.

Oh, and by the way, the Little Bee cover--in case you were wondering--was designed by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. His other book covers are pretty amazing as well--however his site takes a great amount of patience to navigate.


Tweet Up

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my first ever TweetUp (or TweetCrawl, as it was billed). It was great! I met lots of cool people, including Ed Kuryluk, the brains behind Hey Fairfield. Turns out Ed lives right around the corner from me--and it took us meeting up in New Haven to find that out!

Some of the people I met I have actually followed on Twitter for quite some time. Others I just started following as a result of meeting them. My only regret was the fact that I have the lamest phone ever, and therefore could not tweet the event at all. Luckily, Matt Crouch took care of that.

A huge thank you to Suzi Craig, of Fathom, for putting the event together. She is taking suggestions for the next crawl, I'm crossing my fingers it's in Southern CT.

UPDATE: Suzi wrote this post about how awesome the TweetCrawl is/was. I think it pretty much sums it up perfectly, with an added dash of what makes an event like this work.


Good Day

Good has some of the best information graphics around. The latest? A collaboration with Michael Newhouse on... well, basically when your next day off will be. Head on over to Good's website to see the entire chart.

Oh, and don't get too excited over having the 24th off for Pioneer Day--that's only for those who live in Utah.



I'd like to see the movie that tries to beat Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland for best costumes.

Pick up the August issue of Vanity Fair--or just pop on over to Get The Big Picture--to see the other photos from the movie (sadly, there are only 2 more). There's actually more over at IMDb--including some set illustrations.

I am drooling with anticipation!


Why yes, I do judge books by their covers

So today my little corner of the Twittersphere has been going crazy with links to Seth's Blog: The Purpose of a Book Cover:

Tactically, the cover sells the back cover, the back cover sells the flap and by then you've sold the book. If those steps end up selling a book that the purchaser doesn't like, game over. So you have to be consistent all the way through and end up creating a conversation after the purchase. Books are better at creating conversations than most products (when was the last time you talked about a pool cue), but there's lots of opportunity here, no matter what you make.

The whole post really resonated with me, because just last night I was at my book club, and it was my turn to choose books for our next meeting. One of the books I had brought with me I picked solely for the beautiful cover. Of course, when I was at Borders picking it out, I did flip it over to the back flap (more great design--hello? I was so not putting this book down at this point), and then I read the inside flap, which completely intrigued me. The book? Little Bee, by Chris Cleave.

How could you just walk by this book? The elegant script, the spot varnish, and the great type--that's what grabbed me WAY before I knew what this book was about. And yes, I know I'm a designer--that stuff should grab me--but for anyone, I think it's a hard book not to notice.

When I presented it to my club, I told them point blank that it was a book chosen for the design. Of course, once I read the inside flap to them (I didn't even start on the back cover design, I think I was boring them to tears with my font talk), there was no question on what we were going to read next. I think it will, but I'm anxious to see if the plot holds up to the spectacular cover design.


LOVE this!

How gorgeous is this type??! I have to get my head in gear for my little Madeline's upcoming birthday invitations--this is just the kind of inspiration I needed!

Yum, yum!