The Ampersand – yep, a blog about ampersands

ampersand-design blog

“et” style ampersand that appears to be based on the letter “B”

Just found out about this swell blog called The Ampersand. Yep a whole site dedicated to the little homies. Quotes, design and photos of wild Ampersands roaming the streets.

Also, check out this great new blog by the people of Crew Design. Choc full of design goodness! Many thanks to Meghan for hipping me to this cool site.

Mocking Birdies by Annette Simon

Mocking birdies annette simon

Annette Simon sent over two lovely books that I’ve been meaning to post. The first is Mocking Birdies which is the story of two fun loving birds that love to copy each other’s words and whistles. The birds are having a real hoot till a couple of “copycats” come along. Its’ a really funny ending so, you have to read the book to find out what happens. I love how she chose to illustrate the book. The bright colors and simple shapes really catch your eye.

Annette also sent a very touching book titled This Book is for all kids, but especially my sister Libby, which her 5 year old son Jack wrote. The book contains Jack’s thoughts and questions as he struggles to understand the death of his real life sister Libby. Libby died when she was three and half years old due to a rare disorder. Jack’s questions are honest, frank and often humorous. For parents and young ones that are dealing with a similar situation, I’m sure this book leads to some thoughtful discussions.

You can purchase either book at Amazon by clicking on the links above.

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Vintage luggage label from Norway

Vintage luggage label from Norway

Label from Bardola Hoyfjellshotel in Geilo, Norway – c1960s?

I think I’m obsessed with modern Scandinavian design from the 1950s- 1960s. First it was furniture and kids books, then Ceramics and now luggage labels! Where does it end? What’s in that Nordic water?

also worth checking:
Swiss Modern luggage label
Modern luggage label from Portugal

The Making of the Pixar WALL-E Picture book – Lots of Bots

Lots of Bots WALL-E pixar book

Lots of Bots c2008 – Text by Kiki Thorpe – illustrated by Ben Butcher

Ben Butcher of Pixar recently stopped by to give us a preview of the new WALL-E picture book Lots of Bots which he illustrated. The book is the precursor to the film, which is due to hit screens this summer. In the interview below, Ben discusses his thoughts and process in the making of this beautiful book. Where it was possible, we’ve included Ben’s original artwork alongside images of the finished book.

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53 Years of Latvian magazine – Jauna Gaita

53 years of Jauna gaita magazine cover design

After the second World War many Latvian writers were relocated to different areas of the world. Many ended up in Great Britain, Canada and the USA. Living in these new lands they began their own periodicals and publication houses. A new generation of writers emerged. “Living in foreign lands and surrounded by other cultures, these writers strove to capture the influences of modernism.” * One of the magazines that surfaced during this time period was Jauna Gaita (the new course). Ilmārs RumpÄ“ters who designed many of the covers of Jauna Gaita during the 1950s-1970s, wonderfully captured the spirit of this era.

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Bare Knuckles starring Robert Viharo

Bare Knuckles film

Bare Knuckles poster circa 1977

Last night a few of us went down to the Parkway theater in Oakland to check out the classic blaxploitation film Bare Knuckles. The film stars Robert Viharo as Bounty Hunter Zachary Kane who’s on the hunt for a motorcycle riding, masked serial killer ninja! It doesn’t get any better then that!

Bare Knuckles is one of several films that inspired Quentin Tarantino’s GrindHouse flick. Tarantino loaned his copy of Bare Knuckles to Will Viharo (son of Robert Viharo) for the viewing. Robert was in the audience last night and joined his son on stage after the film. It was awesome to see this guy in person after he just kicked two tons of serial killer ninja butt a few minutes before.

One of my favorite parts of the film is Zach’s training session. One minute he’s whaling on a punching bag and the next he’s in the lotus position playing the flute! Now thats Bad Ass!

Check the soundtrack for the film as well. It was reissued recently. Vic Caesar put together a gritty funk masterpiece.

also worth checking:
Nikkatsu Action Cinema

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Malcolm Grear Designers advertisement

Malcolm Grear Designers advertisement

Beautiful advertisement for Arkwright-Interlaken, Inc designed by Malcolm Grear Designers. Dates back to the early 1960s.

1950s Eichler modern homes brochure

Eichler Homes brochure
Brochure for the Rancho San Miguel (Walnut Creek,CA) Eichler development c1950s

In honor of the upcoming Birth of Cool: Mid-Century Modern design in California exhibition, I thought it would be nice to post this Eichler brochure. I found the brochure several years ago at an estate sale in Lafayette, California. I love the photo. Most likely the photographer is Ernest (Ernie) Braun.

Mid-Century Modern design exhibition- Oakland Museum

Pierre koening case study house
Julius Shulman, photograph of Case Study House #21 (Pierre Koenig, architect)

Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury—opening May 17 at the Oakland Museum of California—looks at the painting, architecture, furniture design, decorative and graphic arts, film, and music that launched mid-century modernism in the United States, and established Los Angeles as a major American cultural center. The exhibition continues through August 17, 2008.

Birth of the Cool is accompanied by a 300-page illustrated book (published with Prestel Publishers, 2007), which provides a thorough reassessment of the era.

Bookmark Tomorrow

tomorrow partners promotional bookmark

Many thanks to the good people at Tomorrow for stopping by last week, and for the gift of this beautiful bookmark. The bookmark is part of a promotional piece marking their recent contribution to “Trees for the Future“.

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