Celebrating Museum Day in New Orleans

design, design inspiration, exhibitions, fine arts, galleries, poster, sculpture, vintage design

Two weekends ago, the Fried Green Mister and I took full advantage of the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live and visited both the WWII Museum and Longue Vue House and Gardens. If you didn’t get out to any museums for Museum Day this year, I highly recommend marking your calendar for next year! It was pretty crowded, but not totally out of control, and a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck. We did about $75 worth of awesome activities for $10!

In efforts to keep this post from droning on for days, I’ll give you a photo summary of my favorite things from our day:

longue vue house

Longue Vue is a secret den of fantastic modern art in New Orleans. The owner was an avid art collector and there are some unique pieces housed in the sunroom.

longue vue art collection

longue vue modern art

longue vue gardens

longue vue art gallery

longue vue house new orleans

The World War II Museum was incredibly well designed, though I had a hard time finding any information the exhibit designer for the original portion of the museum, Gallagher & Associates seems to be tied to the new Boeing section with the full sized planes. I have always had grand dreams of being an exhibit designer…

wwii museum new orleans


At museums from this period, I’m always taken with unusual propaganda posters. It always seems like there was so much more thought put into the propaganda during WWI and WWII. You just don’t see pieces like these anymore.

wwii museum posters

wwii propaganda posters

wwii museum new orleans posters



Feeling the Design Inspiration

branding, design, design inspiration, inspirational people, letterpress, music, typography, vintage design, websites

Do you ever have days where you just feel like little bites of inspiration are coming at you rapid fire? In a good way! I feel like this week has been full of fun graphic design pieces and I wanted to take the time to share a few of my favorites from the last few days.

While reading an article on one of our local New Orleans websites about Bob Dylan horrifying the crowds at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, I got to thinking that I wasn’t sure which Newport the festival is named for. So, I looked it up (Rhode Island, but I think I’m the only person out there who didn’t know this!) and was pleasantly greeted by a lovely website! I’m totally down with the current vintage and hand made/hand cut trend. You already know I love letterpress, so any chance to take it to the electronic side and warm up your space on the internet is welcome in my book.

music festival website

website design music festival

So of course, I clicked around to find out who made this beauty, and it was none other than Christopher Capotosto, the mastermind behind bunches of other great folk music related design. Check around his website for some lovely examples of his work!

The other bit that hit me yesterday was a paper sample look book from Utopia Papers. It came packed in the lightning bolt slip cover so just a little sliver of “Spark” showed itself in the hole. The inside is full of samples of brochures and catalogs and other pieces that used Utopia’s stock for the final product. View the featured pieces here.


My Utopia online search pointed me to Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Strategies and it’s definitely worth your time to poke around the student and thesis project pages – especially for Communication Design and Architecture. Oh how I wish there were a program like this in Louisiana!

That being said: What are your thoughts on grad school? Did you go? Are you planning to? How important is an MFA vs. a more business focused art program?

Vintage Finds and Falling in Love With a Brand

advertising, branding, photography, vintage design

My brain is all over the place today! I’m in the middle of a proposal at the day job, finished up some exhibit panels for a freelance client this week, working on finishing an album cover for a dear friend this weekend and yet all I can think about is home furnishings. I have fancy home furnishings on the mind, for whatever reason, and the lovely travel-inspired posts from Modern Commissary just keep pouring in. That, and Heath Ceramics just sent me something about free shipping this coming weekend/week… ugh.

If I had it my way (and had a million dollars), I would be busy making my house even more lovely than it already is, instead of working all the time. It has a lot of classic 1940s Cape Cod charm and original floors and bathroom tile. Every house in my neighborhood looks the same  on the outside, but has a little surprise on the inside – did you get the black and white bathroom tile or the pink and maroon? I’m just thrilled we didn’t end up with this:

Yikes. We have very classy black and white.

I love a lot of what I’m seeing people do with vintage fixtures and reclaimed wood these days. Yesterday, I toured New Kent Winery after a meeting with the ladies from SMPS Virginia. The owner has used many many reclaimed and repurposed pieces in the structure that houses the winery. Evidently many of the doors came from the Jefferson Hotel when they revamped back in the 1980s. The inside of the brewing room had old train trestles from the old Mayo Bridge (Route 360 in Richmond, VA) in place of rafters. The winery is owned by Taylor Moore and he has another business (E.T. Moore) collecting and reselling reusable pieces from old homes and businesses.

I also cannot get enough of old, run down buildings right now. It’s become a photographic obsession.

I’m completely in love with and inspired by all the textures in the faces of these old buildings. I’m planning on incorporating this feeling into a few upcoming pieces of design work. I can’t wait to see where this takes me.

On a completely unrelated note, I have recently had the opportunity to rent cars through both Enterprise and Avis, and I have to say that Avis truly does “try harder.” I would just like to remind you all about the famous (and amusing) 1962 Avis rebranding and mention that they have definitely stuck to it. Good for them and good for me. I’m a loyal customer now – and as much as I love branding, I’m not usually one to just pick a brand and settle down. Avis really does try harder. Read more about the brand here. I also think it’s pretty incredible that the tagline still lives after 50 years. Happy Brandiversary Avis!

SFO Art Fun Part 2

architecture, design, exhibitions, fine arts, galleries, guerilla art, outdoor art, painting, poster, vintage design

Welcome back for Part 2 of my San Francisco artventures. I finally encountered one of the reclaimed parking lot spaces I’ve been reading about on Untapped Cities. I love a good parklet. This was a particularly adorable “porch” for a restaurant in the Haight.

Also in the Haight, I found one of my secret crushes – odd bathroom graffiti. Yep, that’s my pink camera strap. I’m totally professional.

But seriously, I did make it to the SFMOMA to see some of the highlights I’d been hoping to catch. First up, the Parra piece was awesome. It’s huge and bold and strategically placed. Worth a visit for sure. I wish there has been more Parra pieces to see!

I stopped into the Paul Klee/Josef Albers comparative exhibit. The museum tried to explain and showcase the similarities in the focus of these seemingly unrelated artists. It was kind of a cool concept, for sure. And the pieces were great.

I got the chance to go to Alcatraz for the first time this go-around, and one of my favorite parts (besides the creepy fog and birds all over the island) was the room with old movie posters near the gift shop.

The middle, sort of orange block poster is one of my favorites ever – thank you Saul Bass.

And lastly, on a mostly related note, we visited a fantastic winery called Artesa in the Napa Valley. Not only did they have great wine (available for retail in a lot of states) but they also had an incredible spread of land overlooking the Valley and incorporating some unique architectural, water and sculptural elements. I also got to spend some quality time with our fabulous hosts from Modern Commissary. Thanks guys, y’all are amazing tour guides!


Vintage Graphic Design Finds

design, fine arts, poster, printing, typography, vintage design

I spent today with my mom and her bestie and the birthday girl, my Tante Karin, antiques shopping our way around downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was lovely weather in a quaint, Jefferson-era setting. We hit up a bunch of different stores that never disappoint in the design inspiration category.

The first item of interest I noticed was this 1925 No No Nanette record album. The colors and fonts are so classic for that period and the illustration is priceless. They were not afraid of soothing negative space. It makes me long for the days of outrageously fine arts-driven music albums. Artists inspired by other artists.

The next pile of design fun was a bowl of these amazing buttons. Some were political, probably 1950s to 60s, and others highlighted the Rose Bowl – I’d assume one button for each of the two teams playing that year. I’ve always loved this style of bold, boxy political buttons. I had a killer “I like Ike” one that is probably somewhere still at my dad’s house. I also had a “we give a damn!” one with an elephant that I’d love to see again.

Found these Columbia Records relics at the same place as the other two items. These are direct relatives of the album art I posted about here, from the late 1940s. Awesome.

This incredible piece of Americana was from a different store. Have I mentioned how much I love kitschy political design work? What’s not to love here? And if you think you’re getting a taste of my political leanings, you might be wrong!

Who doesn’t love a crazy b-list movie poster? In all seriousness, I miss how often our society used to put hand illustrators to work.

I mistakenly took this little cutie as some sort of beer ad or book cover, but turns out it’s the cover of a Gmund paper sample book. These papers are something I’m going to look into, as they are made with malt and hops, and my German heritage and design-nerdiness makes me want to dig deeper. I’ll keep you posted on my findings. Right now I’m going to sit sheepishly and feel silly about my mistake. Adorable package with fantastic typography, either way.

The last item of interest was not found in a store, but spotted on the street. It was a KONY 2012 flyer taped to a building. Do you all have opinions on this campaign? I’m still undecided as to what’s real and what’s not. I watched the video and I read some articles that counter the video, but the information is still pretty foggy for me. There are some holes and I have some lingering thoughts on “doing more harm than good” when it comes to working with semi-(or fully) corrupt foreign governments. What do you think? Is the campaign just a hipster film maker with a personal agenda?