Registries for Everyone!

websites, weddings

I recently saw this sweet post on Birchbox that discussed things every bride can think about to have a less traditional looking wedding. It got me thinking that I work with brides and grooms, moms and dads, every day who are beautifully less traditional in many ways, and have made some very fun choices in their registry lists. Here are my top picks for registering for a big life event!

etsy wedding registry

For the happy couple:

HoneyFund: I think in this modern day, where many couples are marrying later or living together first, it’s a reality that they don’t need or want as many physical gifts. Help the happy couple fund their trip of a lifetime and make amazing memories!

Heath Ceramics: Beautiful handmade ceramics ranging from vases and decorative items to functional tile and dinnerware.

JuliBox: If you know the happy couple is into craft cocktails, this is a fantastic gift that supplies unique monthly boxes of booze – enough for two people to have two different cocktails!

Register for Activities: Tickets to Jazz Fest, for example, or a dinner at a fancy restaurant, a wine tasting excursion or a baseball game. Create a custom registry of fun couples things to do in your first year of marriage!

Etsy: Has an easy-to-use wedding registry feature so you can make sure you’re getting the one-of-a-kind gifts you hope for!


For the new homeowner:

Wine Clubs: Are a great way to be party-ready (or just everyday-ready?!) at all times. If you aren’t sure about all the random wines you may get from wine clubs, you could always register for a membership at a specific vineyard.

Angie’s List: Ask for a membership to Angie’s List and you’ll be thrilled you did it later. I can tell you from experience, it’s hard to find good help around the home, especially if you are one of only a few homeowners in your immediate circle of friends!

Netflix: A gift subscription to Netflix is a great gift for people who will be home, decorating, painting and generally getting settled into a new space.


For the parents-to-be:

Stay local, y’all: You’re more likely to get personalized help and advice. You’ll be able to order exactly what you want, without worrying if it’s in stock or not. In New Orleans, ZukaBaby is a fantastic choice, complete with parenting and nutrition classes for the community.

Cloth diaper delivery service: Pick something local to you, but in New Orleans, family-run Better Bottoms is available.

College savings plans: Look into the 529 Savings & Prepaid plans, for example. Or start a high-interest savings account or purchase savings bonds. Or do a flash drive with Deposit A Gift.


On a side note…

If you are getting married sometime soon, then you might want to check out #BridalBabble and #WeddingWednesday hashtags on Twitter on Wednesdays at 4pm EDT. It’s a great collection of wedding industry professionals and brides and grooms who tweet-chat about pressing questions, concerns and tips for the big day!

Happy gift-getting!


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?

Friday Favorites

design, design inspiration, websites

We all made it to the weekend! Hooray! Time to celebrate!

fried green design new orleans

fried green design new orleans

Just kidding! Work has been pretty busy, in a great way, so the sazeracs and picnic wine will have to wait until I finish some of the incredible projects I have in the works!

For today’s totally fluffy post, here are a few of my favorite things this week! Enjoy!

First, shout out to one of my favorite bloggers, the fabulous Victoria of San Francisco Girl by the Bay – she’s always on top of what is bohemian hot and finding fun vintage trends in the world of home decor, clothes and life inspiration. Thanks to this lovely lady, I was gifted a beautiful set of notebooks and notecards from Mr. Boddington’s Studio! Thank you so much SF Girl!

fried green design new orleans

Next, this video made me super happy:

And there’s a nice post about the Lights of Hope over at My Modern Met.

I got a totally mindless color match game for my iPad/iPhone called Blendoku. I highly recommend it if you have a few minutes (hours…) of your life to kill. Addictive!


One last favorite is that I will be volunteering at the Creole Tomato Festival on Sunday! Come on down to eat tomatoes and hear some music at the French Market!

fried green design new orleans


Good Design Karma

design, freelance, typography, websites

Today I want to briefly discuss free fonts. Very few fonts are actually free. I’m not sure how we got to this odd “free” download system we’ve found ourselves in, but there is a fine print 9 times out of 10 and it’s important to be good citizens and respect your designer.

1. Very few of the fonts on the free download sites are officially free for all uses.

2. Free fonts on the free font download sites are often labeled free for “personal use.” I would say I see this about half the time. Awesome! Download and stick it on everything in your house! Put it on your kid’s birthday invitations and make wall graphics for every wall in your home (you know what I mean, Pinners). But if you find yourself turning that home-organization habit into a business and throw a logo together with that font, beware you have crossed the line between business and personal!

3. Free fonts that are not officially “free” and are those not labeled “free for personal use” but are instead labeled either “purchase for commercial use” or “not to be used commercially” at all. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why the designer would allow people to download any part of it for free if that’s not the intention! I guess in hopes we’re all good citizens and will pay our designers – which every designer will tell you is not the case.

4. So here’s what you do – if there isn’t a clear “donate now” button by the font on the website, you need to read the “read me” file in the download file. They are not long – usually less than a page, if not less than a paragraph. You can do it. It might say you don’t have to do anything! Surprise, it really is free! But it will probably give you the name of the designer and their email and maybe a link to their site. Contact the designer and they will send you directions for how to pay and probably a suggestion of how much (I haven’t seen one for more than $25). If they don’t suggest an amount, then use your best discretion. It’s a one-time fee guys! That’s a good deal. The other good news is that when the designer is being paid out in this way, they probably don’t have a major surcharge taken out like they might through bigger, expensive font sellers.

There’s my two cents on making sure you’re an upstanding citizen and user of all the design love out there on the internet. Be nice, so that we can continue to have inexpensive options for things like fonts. And while you’re at it, quit stealing photos off of flickr! God/goddess/buddha/karma knows that you didn’t take that picture!

End rant.

Thanks for listening! Here’s a funny for you! Graphic representations of terrible client suggestions, courtesy of Sharpsuits.

Designer Dilemma: Pinterest Ethics Grey Area

advertising, branding, business, design, websites

In the wake of buying ourselves a sweet fixer upper, my interest in Pinterest has been revived. This home needs help! I want to collect every idea for budget home decor that I can possibly find and funnel them all into one easy-to-access place. I will log into Pinterest and pin my face off! Oh, you’re getting married/having a baby/throwing a shower/eating a dinner/painting your toenails? I’ll send you my boards on those subjects! Do you Pinterest? Are we using that as a verb yet? I’ll go with it.

The point of this story is twofold. Warning: Prepare for a lot of questions and opinions! I cannot tell you how to behave on the internet, these are merely some thoughts.

Above logo from Pinterest website.

1. Is Pinterest being abused? Is it okay to love it? Is it okay to hate it? Is it okay to feel both ways? (I certainly do!)

There are a lot of issues surrounding copyright for designers and artists whose work is being pinned and re-pinned on the site with each degree getting farther from the original source. The farther from the source a web bit gets, the farther from appropriate credit being given to original artwork and design. Are we going to see a lot of copycats? Are we seeing a lot of folks’ work being credited incorrectly or not at all? I’ve read Pinterest’s user etiquette and terms of use pages, but I’m assuming most users probably haven’t. Read it and then read up on some recent copyright issues and blog posts  (be sure to read the follow ups at the bottom of the DDK blog). Pinterest seems to be taking a genuine interest in protecting both their pinners and their artists while still having fun. We’ll just have to wait and see how this matter turns out.

I am not a lawyer, but I’m of the camp that if a site has a “pin it” button, it’s probably safe to use. (This is based on my personal thought, not fact, so please don’t quote me on that, and definitely use your own discretion or consult your own lawyer!) To me, a “pin it” means that the external site you’re pinning from is comfortable sharing their copyrighted or trademarked material. In the case of a blog that posts the work of others and has a “pin it” button, I’d have to assume that they have gotten permission. But admittedly, I contact very few of the outside site and blog owners I cite material from. I meticulously link everything I use back to their original sites, including images. I also do not reprint entire articles in my posts, but link you over to their original posts or articles. I feel like the information is on the internet, so people must want it publicized and read/seen, but credit is always due where credit is due. That being said, after reading all of these articles, I’ve deleted my “pin it” button from this blog because I don’t want you to think those folks I cite say it’s okay to pin their work. If you have pinned from my cite anything that is not noted as my own work, I would love it if you “un-pinned.” If you’re thinking of pinning, go to the linked sites and see if they have a “pin it” or written permission, and then do as you see fit. And be sure to give credit and links! Always! I will do the same. When I post my own designs, I will be happy to leave a “pin it” for y’all. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in a law suit somewhere down the road.

When you’re on Pinterest repinning from other people’s boards, please remember that not all pins actually have a link back to the original artist/website. It would be polite to find the original artist/designer and link back to them. Photographers, I would recommend you make sure you have a watermark that shows your website, or at least your full legal company name if you have a “pin it” button on your site. Or even if you don’t. I imagine a lot of small business owners cannot afford to sue someone over pinning un-watermarked that that same owner willingly put on the internet. Do yourself a solid and put a mark on your pieces. Then, if your image gets separated from its link, at least the info is right there on your image. I’m going to do the same with designs and pieces I create from now on – create a jpeg or photograph the work and add a watermark. I’m also adding a disclaimer to the site that people are not to crop out the watermark. That’s not cool and not okay! And don’t even think of finding one of those sites that will edit out a watermark for you to illegally print. That’s just horrible. Artists deserve to be paid too.

These are just tips from one designer to another artist/designer/photographer. Please use your own best judgement or consult a lawyer if you’re confused.

2. What’s the deal with Pinterest if you’re just using it for fun and non-commercial stuff? Like, I want to pin a bunch of paint samples and cute room ideas from Apartment Therapy and Dwell. Did they get permission to use those images? Can I feel okay repinning?

I’m so on the fence here. A lot of folks I know are just deleting anything that might be questionable, thinking that if they were in the other designer’s shoes, would they want their stuff being pinned all over without knowledge? I love love love the ease of use with Pinterest – you can save all the things you admire, take your smart phone to the store and not spend one million dollars on magazine subscriptions or have to look up bookmarks to a hundred websites. This saves time, forgetfulness, money and phone G’s. I love all of these things. And when I’m innocently pinning, I’m not advertising these products to anyone commercially, but I am in fact advertising them online at Pinterest for other people to use any deviant way they might. Do I want to perpetuate that, even if unintentionally? Am I just being paranoid? I have no idea what to do about this dilemma. There’s basically no protecting yourself from what happens after you repin something. As it stands now, the Pinterest code of ethics says you own what you pin and you are responsible for it. Again, please see the etiquette page on Pinterest and refer to the well-written DDK dialogue about the info found there.

Basically, my feeling is that I’m going to skip the “pin it” plug in for my computer so I’m forced to use sites that place their own “pin it” but I’m going to err on the side of caution and be careful what I pin. Blog-based Apartment Therapy, for example, has a “pin it” button everywhere and they are heavily involved in Pinterest. Dwell, a for-profit magazine with legitimate, paying, real-life print/iPad subscribers, is not on Pinterest, as far as I can tell. It also has no “pin it’s” on the articles and home tours portion of its site, but does have “pin it’s” on the shopping area of the site. When in doubt, I’m going to contact the owner or not pin at all. It’s going to be hard to break the habit, but I think it’s good for me until this matter gets sorted out and some hard facts are out there. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that Pinterest’s terms of use are in place to protect them, not us.

Thank you all for listening! I can’t wait to have a little more hard evidence as to what’s right and wrong!

Design Tweets and Tape Art

design, fine arts, guerilla art, painting, websites

I just read/watched a little bite on Huffington Post about 10 Design Tweeters you should be following, if Twitter is your thing. I love Twitter, but even more than Twitter, I love Hootsuite so I can filter the 600 or so folks I follow and also find new gems to watch. Filters are your friends. But anyway, I recommend about 8 of the Tweeters that HuffPo recommends. Two of them get a little overzealous for my taste. I like my design with a hint of sarcasm and a fair dose of reality.

While I was on the HuffPo reading a few articles about design this morning, I saw one about these Slovenian artists creating large tape murals. The pieces are pretty simple, but bold and graphic and modern. There’s definitely something there. I’d like to see this Christo-style, taping up the Empire State Building or the Washington Monument. I’d like to see it go guerilla too, waking up to find that someone has taped my house. Or created with some sort of biodegradable tape that wears off over time to reveal an evolution of the art. Check out the Multipraktik Collective for more info.

Image from Multipraktik vimeo site.

And since I’m on the subject of pseudo-street art, I thought I’d share this almost-nothing video from the Nola Defender featuring none other than the Gray Ghost. The GG is (in)famous for vigilantly painting over and cleaning up graffiti (and “graffiti”) in New Orleans. There’s some question as to whether the GG, his task force and his signature buckets of gray paint have been helping the problem or adding to it in a new way.  He was even spoofed by Banksy a couple years ago. But yeah, the video. I’m not sure why I’m sharing it, but I thought it was an interesting tid bit for some reason!

Graphic Design Web Roundup

design, design books, freelance, music, websites

I just found out that Paula Scher has released a book of her amazing maps!

Photo from Pentagram’s website.
Read a bit about it on Communication Arts website. The maps are a beautiful and overwhelming representation of our constant graphic over-stimulation.

Bonnaroo launched an adorable and fun new website, yesterday, I think. Love the handmade modern hippie feel and soothing colors.

Head over to City of Water to read about Studio Revolt, a Cambodian artist media lab. She has lots of links over there. Totally awesome.

Advertising Around Richmond Va

advertising, branding, design, websites

In the wake of the Super Bowl, there’s been a lot of twitter and facebook buzz about advertising around town, since a certain Richmond firm had a hand in some newly famous ads. So I checked out the new Martin Agency website today:

It has a couple of cool features:

1. It’s really image heavy, which I think is perfect for a design/ad company since the vast majority of what people take away from their work is what they see. I also like how you just scroll over the image to get a teaser. I hate extra clicking.

2. It refreshes itself as you scroll down, sort of like facebook does. As you near the bottom, it adds more past content so you can scroll down (endlessly?) and get all major information straight from the homepage. Neat.

This, of course, made me what to go look at what the other ad companies around Richmond are doing online. Most of the other companies are a lot more state/regionally-focused than national, so this is in no way a comparison. Just letting you know who’s around town.

Madison + Main: I really enjoy some of their seasonal promotional items. First time I met owner Dave Saunders, he presented me with his Blue Christmas album. Destined to be a classic.

The Bergman Group: They do great work, though I have to say I’m a little confused by their website. Not a lot happening. But I do like that you don’t have to change pages to see the videos.

Barber Martin Agency: Not to be confused with the other Martin Agency. Their Intelos commercials make me mute my TV. But I really like their Southern States print ads and spots.

Advante Advertising: I can’t stand this website, but they’ve done some solid logos. I especially enjoy their Main Street Station design (which, for some reason, you will not find on the City website where it belongs).

Big River Advertising: New to me as a name, but not in their work. I recognize a lot of their portfolio, and I am kind of bummed I hadn’t heard of these guys before. Their tagline is “changing behaviors” which is a perfect summary of the ad world. Their website is way less busy and annoying than a lot of their peers, and a lot of their work has a much more graphic/artistic approach. Surprise find!

Siddall: This is some sort of affiliate/partner of a larger worldwide corporation operating on a local level with local folks. Regardless, I’m in love with their State Fair of Virgina ads. These embody childhood dreaminess to me.

I could probably keep going since Richmond is thoroughly saturated with advertising agencies, but I must get back to working on some really great new projects! Can’t wait to share!