Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2009 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

To compile the 2009 Year-End Zeitgeist, we studied the aggregation of billions of queries people typed into Google search this year. We use data from multiple sources, including Insights for Search, Google Trends and internal data tools. We also filter out spam and repeat queries to build out lists that best reflect "the spirit of the times." All of the search queries we studied are anonymous—no personal information was used.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arts & Crafts

Justin painstakingly constructed these two characters out of aluminum foil & modeling-clay. Both puppets were built with internal controls for facial control. Awesome handicraft work!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

True that

This write-up made me laugh, so true in this day and age...

"A memo went out to one of our clients last week that read more like a text message than a professional letter. You know what it looked like: Every third word was abbreviated, as though it was written on the run, from a cellphone. I was appalled, and could only imagine what the client must think: If we are writing to them in such a casual way, what else is being executed casually?" Read on...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Ad industry needs to...


"As follow up to a post he wrote on his blog about the good old days of advertising, George Parker followed up writing, "Apart from a stroll down memory lane and reminisces about great bars and restaurants, many of which no longer exist, the big question raised was, was the work better, and did we have more fun doing it? Yes, I think the work was better, and I know that will raise a shitstorm from" Read on...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Get personal

Short bit here from Though Gadgets. Imagine the positive impact if every company adopted this approach of conversation with their audience.

"Digital strategist Jordan Julien got us thinking about "synthetic authenticity," the risk large corporations face as they try to engage customers in social media. The problem, Jordan says, is social media tools were built for individual people to interact with each other, but suddenly faceless entities -- big brands with big names -- are entering the space."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Transparency Begins at Home

Progressive thinking here from agency head Darryl Ohrt,

"You're blogging about your agency. Tweeting about minutia. Pitching transparency to your clients left and right. But how transparent are you, really?

We've been operating under an open book and open management philosophy at our agency for more than a decade, and it's one of the greatest policies that we ever created."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bounce rate 101

Nice write-up here by Josh Oakhurst via TDE.

"In the hunt for ROI, too many website owners are tripped up on the false notion solely lowering their “bounce rate” is all that stands between their business model and vast riches. We’ve encountered a lot of clients who place a low bounce rate on a web execution as proxy for success—which it most definitely is not."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Style versus design

Great article here by Jeffrey Zeldman...

"The web used to look like a phone book. Now much of it looks like a design portfolio. In fact, it looks like the design portfolio of 20 well-known designers, whose style gets copied again and again by young designers who consider themselves disciples. Distinctions between graphic design and communication design are lost on these designers. As is the distinction between true style, which evolves from the nature of the project, and derivative pastiche, which is grafted onto many projects like a third arm." Read on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Confessing my social media sins

Nice little top 10 here.

"10. There's going to be a backlash to all this full-time conversation.
If there isn't, I'm going to start one. I feel like we're building up to a global event of people going postal. I have a colleague who e-fasts every Sunday. No electronics whatsoever. We should do that. Just like Buy Nothing Day, we should have Twitter-Free Day. Can one of you social media types..."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How not to name

Nice write-up on tactics for naming here by Anthony Shore, Global Director, Naming and Writing at Landor.

"Great names rarely come from group brainstorming — and almost never if more than five people are in the room. Individual, heads-down thinking is the most fruitful way to create unique, breakthrough names. Start by inundating yourself in the project's objectives, competition, and market situations."...

Backstage: The SinkIt logo in process

Very nice behind the scenes of what went into the new corporate identity for SinkIt here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Identity Before Strategy: Doom for Rebrands

Rebranding efforts are tricky things. Once in a very blue moon they can prove to be the turnaround that the management team was hoping for.

Sports brand Puma, luxury brand Gucci and the gurus at Apple all provide notable examples of great brand revitalizations during the 90’s. Read on...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


See the entire series for Huggies here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh yeah!

The Kool-Aid man is back!

"Expanding on last year's “More smiles per gallon” campaign, the new ads focus on Kool-Aid's low price by comparing its drink mix to the higher cost of bottled soda. The ads claim “regular Kool-Aid goes almost three times further than soda,” but of course that is to be expected since soda and Kool-Aid are not the same thing. Despite this, the ads seem to be doing well at time when consumers are cutting back spending on non-essential items like soft drinks."

One of the new TV spots here.

Top 10 from the Dieline

Check out this Top 10 from last weeks collection of packaging from the Dieline. Love the retro Coke cans.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Absolutely awesome

Great limited edition package design for Absolut.

Via thedieline

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More great VW print

Courtesy of DDB Germany. Awesome. As always.

Via ibia

Biggest business mistakes of 2009

Arnell's Tropicana redesign comes it at number two on Forbes Dumbest moments in business 2009. Ouch.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dear American Airlines

Thought I would share this entertaining (and informative) back and forth between a UX designer and American Airlines. The designer wrote an open letter to AA (here), born from frustration, suggesting a rework of the airlines website; going as far as mocking up some of his ideas. The experiment gets interesting when one of AA's own UX designers responds with a well composed explanation (here) of why their site, well, sucks.

Worth the read.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Top 10 logo tips

Great top 10...

1. A logo doesn’t need to say what a company does

Restaurant logos don’t need to show food, dentist logos don’t need to show teeth, furniture store logos don’t need to show furniture. Just because it’s relevant, doesn’t mean you can’t do better.


Via ybnby

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Strong dog frisbee

Love this piece for Iams 'strong dog' campaign from S&S Sydney. Nice work.

Via ibia

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Launch a Business, Not a Side Project

I think we have a serious problem in our industry.

I believe it generally started when Basecamp became quite successful and 37signals started to talk about their theories on the subject. Their basic mantra was “Don’t quit your day job to build a web app. Build it in your free time and use your day job to pay the bills until your new app brings in enough money to quit your day job.”

I used to agree with this, but now I think I’ve come full circle. Read on...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Entreprenuers can change the world

Sweet spot for, phone service? After watching this bit I was expecting to be blown away by some new life changing product or service; but an 800 number? Really? Great work nonetheless.

Via brandflakes

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Straight outta '87

Great spot here promoting the next generation of the ever classic Punch Out.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lily's Kitchen Proper Dog Food

Lily's Kitchen (uk) is a new line of "Proper Pet Food". The all natural chow, free from fillers and artificial ingredients, is made with organic, holistically balanced meats and veggies.

Color coding and custom illustration give the new designs a bit of a retro (while at the same time modern) feel, sending a message to it's audience that this is a product you can feel good about feeding your pets.

"Something that says: “The food in this tin is quality” without resorting to pictures of the food or the usual big dog face."


Via thedieline

Friday, May 8, 2009

The way you use power has changed

Great work here from Denver's Cactus promoting Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which “wholesales electricity to the regional utilities who in turn sell directly to consumers”. Excellent photography and art direction. Click here for the series.


Via tde

The four hour workday

How to complete a full workday by noon? Sounds impossible, right? But on many days, by 12 o’clock, I have completed work that should normally take eight hours. And I don’t wake up at 4 a.m. to achieve this. Read on...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Diesel Fist

Love the design of this new Diesel fragrance, Only the Brave. Great concept and immaculate execution.



Developing an effective brand packaging strategy

As marketers and consumers equally flock towards the latest in online social networks and forge these new consumer bonds, we must never forget the other critical connection point that is of equal importance - Consumer Packaging.

As these “digital” brand experiences mature to become more individualized, own-able, and even communal, they also inherently become more ephemeral. Packaging, still representing one of the strongest key physical connections to a brand, is becoming increasingly more relevant and powerful in evolving marketing strategies. Read more...

Via thedieline

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Dottie had a heart condition and she died"

Check out these 70's era PSA'S promoting "the swine flu shot". Apparently we were on the verge of a pandemic outbreak then too. A bit over dramatic don't you think?


Via yesbutnobutyes

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Skewed stats

Why do people believe every number they see? Tonight social media guru David Armano rebroadcast a tweet claiming Razorfish generated $18.8 million in incremental revenue for H&R Block. It's possible; H&R Block takes in about $4 billion annually, so a 0.47% lift from online chatter could happen. Read on...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Avid Rebrands

Since 1987 Avid has been the leader in video production technology, serving the film and video industry with it's array of products. We use Avid here at Handcrafted, so when the company revamped it's identity, a post announcing the news was a no-brainer.

Designed by someone, the new logo connotes a more contemporary, progressive energy that will help unify the companies offerings - says my opinion. I like the move towards something more iconic and bold and overall, it is a well produced revamp. The only bit that gets me is the negative space between the "v" and the "i". It keeps drawing my eye. Is this bothering anyone else?

Update: Avid contacted us to let us know that "Our press release actually stated that the new logo reflects the "volume up, volume down, play, pause, record and forward" symbols consumers and professionals recognize as fundamental to the digital audio and video solutions they use every day to enable their creativity, and signals a unification of the company's core audio and video offerings."


Thursday, April 23, 2009

In Defense of Eye Candy

Well articulated piece here discussing the importance of well-crafted aesthetics and how many times the basics of color, depth and so on can have a major impact on how viewers digest and or navigate through our designs.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How Fluff is Driving Away Your Viewers

Nice write-up here that discusses the importance of simplicity and clarity in web design. The article highlights the fact that by incorporating extraneous messaging, gimmicks, etc., you are not only standing in the way of the users experience but also driving them away from your site.

It's OK to Let Some Stuff Pass You By

"I think that we are training our nervous systems to expect a certain and a certain kind of stimulation and I think it’s a kind of addiction, and...I’m not using that as a metaphor. Every time I check my email, I‘m looking for a little packet of pleasure that gets delivered when I get an email. I feel like I’m a rat with an electrode planted in my brain, stimulating myself... Rats will do that 2, 000 times an hour if this stimulus is pleasurable..." Read on...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can Design Save the Newspaper?

The WSJ on Comic Sans

Next to Papyrus, Copperplate and Impact, Comic Sans tops the list as the typeface designers love to hate. Wildly overused and ghastly misplaced; popular amongst everyone from grade school teachers to company execs, Comic Sans is considered the evil step child of typefaces. Vincent Connare, who originally designed Comic Sans for Microsoft back in the early 90's chimes in on the current movement attempting to abolish all future use of it...

Check out the WSJ article here.


Friday, April 17, 2009

The WTC Logo Preservation Project

A personal project by Korean designer Ji Lee, the WTC Logo Preservation Project is a collection of identities which include representation of the twin towers. Nicely done...

“World Trade Center buildings are present in thousands of classic New York skyline logos owned by local businesses in the city. They tend to belong to small businesses that are likely to disappear over the years to come. So are their logos and the Twin Towers.

After 9/11, I started to photograph and archive these logos in order to preserve the many different graphic expressions of these important historical buildings.” Ji Lee


Via logodesignlove

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The people vs

If you haven't yet heard this story, prepare yourselves. A notable designer by the name of Jon Engle has been accused of stealing his own work. Yep, you heard right. has claimed that Jon stole the creative from their site (which is created via crowd sourcing) and used it to service his clientele. The truth of the matter is that the original work, designed by Jon, and posted on his online portfolio, were blatantly ripped off by the wannabe "designers" that keep sites like these alive. sent Jon a bill for $18,000 and the madness ensued. For the full story and a collection of of Stockart rip-offs click here.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Best music video ever?

Love this video for Coldplay's Life in Technicolor ii directed by Dougal Wilson. It keeps getting better the longer you watch... Check it out in HD, enjoy.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Your business card is crap

"It took me 25 years to design this card." And it still looks like crap.

Via denveregotist

Monday, April 6, 2009

Succumbing to pressure from the minority

We are beginning to see this more and more. Companies, industry giants, are allowing the fate of their brands to be dictated by a bunch of online cry-babies. On one side, sure, it is pretty empowering to think that the everyday person can contribute to a larger voice and sway the direction of a companies creative. On the other hand, and on to my point, when are these CMO's, boards and department heads going to commit to their plan, show a bit of backbone and stand up for what they believed in from the start? The biggest problem with succumbing to this negative feedback and "data", is that all of that data is naturally biased. The only people voicing their opinions are the naysayers, pundits, and "Debbie-downers". You don't hear from those who could car less or even those that take notice and like the new logo or re-designed packaging. If we keep going in this direction, adjusting to every criticism, no company will be able to establish a viable, legitimate brand, they will become disjointed in their attempts at trying to please everyone. Did Apple or BMW get where they are today by reverting on their advertising or product because a bunch of ignorant strangers didn't agree with them?


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Sharkfalcon beats your Wolfpigeon

Hats off to Qualcomm for having some fun and producing this piece. Hilarious.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Nice Juno rip-off

Someone please explain to me how this new spot for Comcast sells cable/internet/voip? Take a look and let me know what you think. All I can see is a blatant ripoff of the Moldy Peaches song "Anyone Else But You" from the Juno soundtrack (listen here); and overall theme of the film. In conjunction with this tv spot, Comcast launched a microsite, here, where you can get stupid ringtones, useless wallpaper and invite Comcast to be your friend on Facebook. Why?, because apparently this sells cable/internet/voip. I would love to see the attempted gauge of ROI on this campaign. "Dream Big" - yeah, uh huh.


Tap project continues to make waves

Jeesh, that was an awful headline. Here is a glimpse at some more great work produced by Denver's Sukle in promotion of the Tap project. Very well conceived and executed, I wonder how widespread this is and what else is in store. Nice work.


Via tde

The buck stays here

No, Colorado Springs is not for sale, at least that I know of.

Bernard Sandoval of Sandia Advertising and Marketing has come up with a logo and tag line, THE BUCK STOPS HERE, for a local campaign that could help our city out of the economic doldrums.

I have seen Buy Local campaigns in other cities but have no hard evidence that these hometown booster programs actually work. It is worth a shot, I figure.

I know Colorado Springs Utilities uses an ad agency based somewhere in Oklahoma.

The city’s website was built by a company out of Oregon.

How many other city or county contracts are with a company outside of El Paso County? What would happen to our city and county tax revenue if all 609,096 residents in the metropolitan statistical area stopped buying anything on the Internet and only purchased goods and services from local companies? Read more...

Friday, March 27, 2009

No! Never Surrender To Your Users, Facebook.

The camel/horse quote (no disparagement to camels meant, of course) perfectly captures the problem when too many people have input into a product. Seth Godin talks about how the Walkman would never have been built if Sony had asked its customers what they wanted (see Purple Cow). Read more...
Publish Post

People hate your website, now what?

So there you are, site has been completely built and in your opinion it couldn’t be better. Then it happens…. BAM… someone complains that they can’t find something on the site. Then another complaint…. BLAMMO… they can’t see the site at all in their IE6 browser. Suddenly you realize that though your site looks beautiful in Firefox, and to you it makes total sense navigating your way around, your users aren’t having the same experience as you are. Read more...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everybody is against everybody

A buddy of mine tipped me off to this new spot for Amnesty International last night and it appears to be making it's way around the internets today. If you haven't already seen this, give it a looksie, powerful messaging and awesome motion graphic-ness. From Leo Burnett - Portugal.


Via ibia

A control freaks guide to social media

Losing control is a primary reason stated by brands who are unwilling to open themselves up to the conversation - and a major reason why most continue to use social media as little more than a brochure on the web. And yet the illusion of control is just that – an illusion. By not involving yourself you actually do more to remove control than if you did. Read more...

Via brandflakesforbreakfast


Thanks swissmiss

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Your logo makes me barf dot com

Check out this website.
Oh my...

Get in yer' vans and drive!

I love this spot from Rpa promoting the new Honda Odyssey. Good vibe.


Via ibia

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Upgrade your job not your job title

Love the concept of this campaign from Leagas Delaney London.


Via directdaily

I can't wait for this movie

The first poster for Where the wild things are.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

You should attend...

The first annual Denver Artcrank Poster show. Straight out of Minneapolis, and spear headed by my college buddy Josh Wills, this is sure to be a good time. The show will open across four galleries in downtown Denver beginning April 11th. Be sure to check it out! Click on the image for show details.



Spent the weekend in Breckinridge and had a blast. Stayed at a ski-in lodge, which is always great. This was a random snowboarder who posed for the camera with his crazy awesome non-matching gloves.

Overall I'd say the trip it was a success.


Friday, March 13, 2009

This Doodle was brought to you by...

A very cool article about doodling. Who would have thought Bill Gates of all people doodled?... probably more of you than I would have guessed. Still cool nonetheless.

I myself had one teacher in Middle school who allowed us to doodle because he knew that it helped some people to take in information and learn. Probably one of my better English Teachers honestly, thanks 'teach.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Blacklighter

Censorship of the press/free speech by oppressive governments around the world is a major issue of concern for the International Society for Human Rights. This campaign sends a message to German journalists and those in the press; bringing the issue to light and persuading them to get involved with the IGFM to help make a difference for their counterparts around globe. Nice work.

Via ibia


The office of Nothing

The agency made out of cardboard. Totally cool.

Quote of the day

“Evolved individuals know that people who are not intuitive can be dangerous to work with, since they are guided solely by the current appearance of things that are in reality, changing. Evolved individuals seek out others who have intuition and vision - a form of intelligence that comes from cultivating the instincts, observing the direction of change, apprehending the evolution of ideas.”
— Lao Tzu

Via swissmiss

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jot it down

Fun campaign here promoting New York's School of Visual Arts; Playing on the fact that many of us, creative or not, turn to most any writable surface when we have a spark of imagination, or just need to remember that number.


Via ibia

Four rules

Vis swissmiss

Friday, March 6, 2009

These are crayons.

This is amazing, click here for the entire gallery.
Happy Friday.


Shameless plug

Handcrafted Media picks up an Addy (PPAF) for the multi-panel Pikes Peak Workforce Center brochure. The piece sold local business owners on getting involved and sponsoring the Business and Education Talent Readiness Project (BETR), a program that allows for the education of a new workforce while providing supporting businesses with tax credits and sponsorship opportunities. Handcrafted was responsible for creative from beginning to end including conceptual strategy, design, copywriting, printing.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Logos 101: for all you newbs

5 straight forward, elemental things that every mark should be able to do well. These are the basics folks.


Monday, March 2, 2009


I love ze Porsche.
A 911 Turbo is my dream car, but honestly a Carrera would work almost just as well.

Look at those lines! THE LINES!... gorgeous.


*edit* I just realized that wasn't the picture from our mainpage... that picture you can find here.

General Mills going old school

Apparently General Mills is going back to their vintage packaging for product sold at Target and other select locations. I love this idea, kinda makes me want to go buy a few of these. Now, I wonder if they actually threw-back the actual product? Maybe it's just me but theses cereals seemed to taste so much better back in the day.


Via thedieline

The future

Oh no.

Via swissmiss via this guy

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC: Skier, Climber, Ice-skater

Nice campaign for Mercedes here. Good concept, art direction and execution. Although from a design standpoint, I am not a huge fan of separating the mark from the logotype; it is slightly distracting having the copy, mark and logotype all positioned individually. But well done nonetheless.


Via ibia

Does Society Stifle Creativity and Innovation in Youth?

Short answer, yeah. Nice little article here.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shredding = awesomeness

So Lee and I hit the slopes last Saturday night at Keystone after our little CS4 conference in Denver. It was the first time on my board consistently in 6 years. Tearing down the mountain and riding a handful of rails and boxes sure felt good - reminded me of the good old days when I was invincible and had a surplus of coordination. I snapped a little video and put it together in iMovie. Look out Justin.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Crime Stoppers - anonymity

Really nice campaign here from DDB Canada for the Greater Vancouver Crime Stoppers.

"The campaign encourages people to report crimes and suspicious behavior, and compellingly reinforces Crime Stoppers’ new positioning, “You remain anonymous, criminals don’t.” “The new campaign will refresh people’s perceptions about Crime Stoppers and reassure people of their anonymity who are still hesitant to contact us with their tips."


Via ibia

Your future is cloudy.

I was going through some of my old photos at home last week, I came across this shot I took over the summer. Doesn't do the real thing justice, but I still like it.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

The $50 logo experiment

The Creative Director at 160over90 to it upon himself to engage in a mock project with one of these "get an awesome logo online for a buck in less than 24 hours" types of places, i.e. logoworks, logoyes, etc. Needless to say, the process and results, here, were borderline seizure inducing, and at the same time, utterly hysterical. But hey, what do you expect for 50 bucks, right?

I won't get into what I feel is wrong with these sort of groups and their approach, because frankly, I don't have all day to write this post. I can, however, directly relate to this story and cite the true tale of a client who, before they called on us, sourced one of these companies and had an eerily similar experience. When all was said and done they were out of pocket some $400 and had absolutely nothing of value to show for it.

For further reading,
logoworks rip-offs
logoworks sucks
how not to design a logo

ps- I do want to state that the services offered by this lot may suit some companies perfectly, and that's cool. Not every client has the means to invest in a proper identity.


Via logodesignlove

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Thirty Second Sell - What’s Your Website’s Elevator Pitch?

You have thirty seconds to tell me why your website matters, and what it can offer me. Go!

Loewe: Sound

Fantastic spot for this European audio company. Awesome concept, simple/engaging message, flawless execution. Nice work out of Germany.


Via ibia

Kraft food rebrands, fails

Accurate assessment of the new corporate rebrand for Kraft foods here. This logo appears to be a design by committee nightmare; let's add a little bit of Pepsi swoosh, a rainbow explosion, a weak tagline and a touch of overall poor organization. Not good, especially when the previous logo was such an iconic, classic mark, that looked like it actually stood for something.


Via brandnew

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert on creative genius

I love this talk by Elizabeth Gilbert from this year's TED conference in Monterey. Elizabeth presents a different way of looking at the source of creative inspiration. Very enlightening stuff, give it a listen.


Power Stance

I hadn't been to one of my friend's concerts (Drive-In Massacre) in a while to take pictures. I figured there wasn't a better time to go to a metal show than on Friday the 13th. I also remembered ear plugs this time too (which was a life saver)!

I got a few good pics from the night, this one was my favorite. Not your usual band shot and the colors make me happy.

Power stance'ing all up ins
~ Lee

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are you drunk?

We have all been there, driving down the road when, for whatever reason, out of anger, concern, curiosity or frustration, we have felt the need to communicate with our fellow drivers. Thanks to this new collection of simple, easy to understand signs, we no longer need to rely on the over-played middle finger, flashing of the lights or honking of the horn. Excellent!


Via swissmiss