Goodbye Carnival, Hello Wedding Season!

branding, design, freelance, invitations, letterpress, poster, printing, weddings

Hello and hope you all made it through Mardi Gras with lots of throws to show for it! I had an amazing first Mardi Gras and I even claimed my Zulu coconut and one for my man too, since he had to work on Mardi Gras Day. I can’t wait until next year! I will be far more prepared with costumes next time around!


photo photo[1]

I also bumped into this little street art piece somewhere along the parade route:


This person’s work keeps popping up around town and I’m intrigued. I’d like to know a little more and will keep you posted if I find anything out!

But the real story today is that Carnival Season is officially over and February 15 marked the unofficial, official start to wedding season! I love weddings because I get to help brides and grooms design a little piece of their history and something that their closest friends and family have been waiting to receive in the mail since the couple’s big announcement! Invitations are the first teaser for your big day that will set the tone for the whole party. I love the challenge to create a piece that speaks for and about the happy couple on their happiest of days.

Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time looking at amazing wedding sites and blogs, and I’m going to give you all a list of my favorites, which are especially nice for the DIY-type of couple in this budget-conscious age. But these are also great for finding resources local to you for your big day. If wedding shows in a big convention center hall aren’t your thing, these are great for finding local vendors from the comfort of your own home. So, without further adieu, here are a few of my favorite blogs:

And here’s the best bit of wedding collateral advice I can give you: Do not sign up for The Knot and their “free” wedding website option. They will spam you for the rest of your life and then their sister publication The Nest will do the same. I had a fantastic time using for my personal wedding website. I highly recommend it and they do not spam your inbox for years and they have a really classy assortment of templates.

Most of the above blogs and sites can be found on Pinterest as well, for easy stocking and storing of wedding goodies. And of course, I would love to chat with you about custom wedding invitations – I can work with all budgets and styles of printing (high end cotton papers with letter press, offset printing on pearls and metallics, digital printing with recycled papers, print-at-home, you name it!) for invitations, wedding posters, table cards, and anything else printed that you can dream up! Check out templates at the Fried Green Etsy site, or email me directly at emily(at)friedgreendesign(dot)com to talk about custom pieces!

Happy wedding season!



Letterpress Surprise!

design, letterpress, printing, typography

I had a productive day gardening in and among steady rains in my swamp of a backyard today. Came inside, poured some rum drinks for Scott and I and found a bit of beautiful mail from some of my favorite bloggers over at Peach Farm Studio! Yay for letterpress bookmarks! Thanks guys! Happy Saturday!

letterpress design

What’s So Bad About Chalk Anyway?

guerilla art, kids

I have a bit of a bone to pick today. I’m irritated with the way my little City continues to make it hard for Richmonders to have a good time, be out-of-the-box creative, exist peacefully and have respect for the authorities – authorities who I’d like to believe set out with good intentions but seem to get lost somewhere in the process. Richmond is a great place for many reasons. For example, right now, we have the most stunning display of cherry blossoms along our historical Monument Avenue and side streets, along the route for the Monument Avenue 10K Race, which has been dubbed one of USA Today’s Best Races. The race draws over 40,000 participants from Richmond and beyond.

The City is historically important, artistically diverse, a haven for foodies, and has great value for property considering the proximity to Washington, DC. Richmond’s Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) was the only museum/gallery to host the Picasso’s on the East Coast last spring – one of only three U.S. stops. We are now home to an NCAA finals qualifying basketball team, two years in a row, which has begun attracting the attention of many new types of students to our VCU. We’re also hosting the UCI World Road Cycling Championship in 2015. So much good stuff, people! So much!

But many of the things people hear about our town, over and over, do not make us proud, as residents. Just recently, I’m sure you all heard about (or saw on SNL…ugh) the ridiculous ultrasound bill that has made our government, which is housed in Richmond, a laughing stock and drawn protestors from all over the place. I realize this is a major state and national issue, but it took place here in Richmond and local authorities handled things in a distressing way. More than 30 people were arrested for sitting on the Capitol steps. I’m sure there are two sides to every story, but the stories of peaceful events turning ugly when the authorities get involved are growing and growing around these parts.

I’m not much for public protest, personally – I both agree and disagree with a lot of the Occupy movement, but I definitely didn’t agree with the press being arrested for photographing from public space. I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about how confused they are by much of the City involvement in the comings and goings of residents. There were police in actual riot gear waiting outside our basketball stadium when VCU beat Kansas in the NCAA’s last year. Seriously? This is not to say I dislike the police. I’m actually a big fan. I’m thrilled that police patrol my neighborhood since there have been a lot of break-ins nearby. I know a few really great local police officers. And last year, the man who gave me my first ticket since I was 17 was exceptionally nice and apologetic, but let’s face it: I was way speeding in a residential area! I deserved it!

Let me get back to the point. I understand a lot of the odd policies the police must enforce come from above, sometimes way above. The folks we see on the ground are merely the enforcers of regulation they are not in charge of changing and/or creating. My beef is with the top. And my beef today is this ridiculous headline I read on my neighborhood blog: Woman Ticketed for Daughter Using Chalk on Belle Isle. What? $300 fine? What? Banned from all City parks? What?! Chalk, people! Chalk! If you’re not familiar with chalk, it’s formed of natural sources, biodegradable and generally seen as a unobtrusive. My husband and I even have friends with kids who have managed to skirt the issue of their kids coloring on the walls by painting a huge wall with chalk board paint and encouraging artistic freedom without sacrificing permanent home aesthetics.

So what’s wrong with this story? If no permanent damage is done, is it graffiti? My thinking is no. We’ve had at least two rains since this incident meaning the chalk, I’m sure, is long gone. For the non-local readers, Belle Isle is a City park surrounded by the James River, with a shoreline of wide flat rocks and lots of wooded trails, popular for bikers, picnickers and sunbathers – very family friendly. And evidently, chalk-free. What are authorities afraid of? That this is going to encourage the child to get into spray paint and paint pens later? What if we have a budding Shepard Fairey, Christo or Andy Goldsworthy on our hands? Wouldn’t Richmond be proud of that? I would hate to be the one that stifled that creative spark.

And let’s not forget that Richmond has had great success with publicly sanctioned chalk-related events. Last year we had Chalk Up the Town and the year before, in my neighborhood they held a Chalk-a-Thon to support a local Waldorf school. Fun times were had! Beautiful art was created. Beyond chalk, the Knitorious MEG has been yarn-bombing the area very near the site of the Chalk Incident and no one is running out to tear that down. It’s pretty and unique and not harming anyone. We have embraced it, in a way. Some of us even get excited to spot a new yarn project.

I’d like to see Richmond grow to be a bit less strict about freedom of speech and expression. Non-harmful creativity should be embraced and we should be ashamed of putting the fear of public art into the next generation.

Think About Nothing, Think About Something

design inspiration

Yesterday I read this article on NPR about the infamous 1953 erasing of a de Kooning by a, then, very green Robert Rauschenberg. It got me thinking about my own work, and there being two ways to think about Nothing or, at least, our perception of Nothing. When you have a big blank spot on a printed/web piece, people call this “negative space,” not Nothing. And if you have a pause between two notes in a song, people call this a “breath” or a “rest.” In typography, the space inside the letters (like “O” and “d”) is called a “counter.” In any case, the full comprehension and acceptance of Nothing is integral to the life of the piece. Just my two cents for the day. The Nothing doesn’t have to be an afterthought. I’m going to be acknowledging the Nothing to try to design Something tonight.

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?

Exhibits Worth Seeing, SF and DC

design, exhibitions, fine arts, galleries, photography

The husband and I are planning on heading up for a day trip to DC shortly, so I thought I’d research a bit of art to visit while we’re there. I’m thinking a stop at the National Gallery to see the conceptual work of Mel Bochner. Hopefully we’ll make a stop at the Corcoran to see the Sleeping Soldiers photo exhibit by Tim Hetherington. Next we’ll slip over to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum (somehow, after years of school and personal trips to DC, I’ve never stopped at this one) to see the non-staged photographs of Annie Leibovitz in her Pilgrimage show. And if time allows, we’ll stop in at the National Museum of Women in the Arts for R(ad)ical Love, graphic works of peace and love from Sister Mary Corita.

If you’re in the Bay Area, I’d be very jealous if you went to the DeYoung to see the Arthur Tress exhibit of his photographs from 1960s San Francisco. I saw the Tress exhibit, Fishtank Sonata, at the Corcoran many years ago, and fell in love with his intriguing vignettes and his juxtaposed messages.

This beautiful tale has become one of my favorite and most ridiculous books!

Salvation Mountain

fine arts, guerilla art, painting

Image from the Salvation Mountain website.

I just caught an episode of No Reservations where they go to the US desert¬†of California, and I had to post this crazy thing that I had no idea existed. Am I the last person to hear about Salvation Mountain? Did you all know about this? What a strange and interesting piece of guerilla art. A curious homage to Christianity created by Leonard Knight, covering a mostly man-made mountain in paint. I have a strange love for Dia de los Muertos figures and ostentatious Mexican graveyards, lingering from a trip to Mexico in my mid-teens, but this mountain is like those two genres combined with a Christian drag show. Amazing. I must see this in person one day. I’m not going to repost anyone’s flickr pics, but you can find a bunch here. A true testament to one man’s religious faith and a fascinating piece of public art.