Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Larder, Dulwich Hill

Sorry people – I know it seems this blog has become all about new Sydney finds, but there have been so many delightful retail and food spots popping up around the place (at least, my life), that I have to share them.

The Inner West is so hot right now. This unassuming little deli, The Larder, is located at 489 Marrickville Rd, Dulwich Hill. Who knew. The selection of food here is outstanding – pasta, chutneys, tea and coffee, cheeses, sweet treats, breads, plus lots of food I'm not even sure how to pronounce let alone know what it is... selected from suppliers worldwide. If you're after something obscure and tasty, and a grocery shopping experience which transports you immediately to a small, quaint French country town where your package is lovingly wrapped and handed to you in a rustic brown paper bag, then this is the place to visit.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Organic Type

Created by graphic designers for graphic designers, The Organic Type makes it easy to incorporate the texture of handcrafted lettering into any project without ever picking up a pencil. Amazing! Worth noting that these typefaces don't actually work as fonts, they have to be placed as Photoshpo file – this is due to the extraordinary detail in each letter. What a find! Now I just need a project to use it for...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Margaret Tarrant

These completely adorable fairy tale illustrations were thoughtfully and beautifully composed by the prolific illustrator, Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959). Or, 'Aunt Maggie', as I like to call her. Yep, this incredible woman is actually somewhere – admittedly distant, but present nonetheless – in my family tree. In fact, the relationship is so remote that if you're reading this, you may be related to her as well. Margaret Tarrant has captured countless children's imaginations for many generations, I can't wait to read some of the nursery rhymes she has illustrated to my own children.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


We Australians are all aware that our land is made up of two parts: The Mainland and The Island Below The Mainland. We are all fond of Tasmania and many of us would like to see ourselves at home in a pretty green Tassie Valley, with tasty berries growing in the backyard and a sunny kitchen which wafts aromas of fresh sourdough and tea. We're all aware that Hobart houses Australia's most outrageous, awe inspiring art museum too, it's just getting there which is the problem! For all of you who has the MONA on your list of places to go, here's my quick review.

Clearly, David Walsh didn't have enough space in his living room to display the pictures and things he's been collecting over time. And how exactly does one house an interactive installation of 300 lightbulbs? If you have the money, you pay a few people to build a giant adult art-gallery disneyland to show it off. The building is A-MA-ZING, and whether you're into art or not, exploring this incredible architectural feat is an experience in itself. The museum spaces are all underground; one has to wander down a spiral staircase or take a tubular lift downwards.

The collection is a little bit funny. Dave Walsh is intrigued by sex, death and poo. But lots of us are I suppose. It's not the sort of collection which left me feeling inspired, though. This is a particular taste and probably not representative of the most clever contemporary art on the market.

But I'm a designer, and my favourite part by far was the branding. The two symbols, the plus and the cross, are brilliant in their simplicity. They appear in the various marketing material and signage with the same whimsical approach which is applied to the whole museum. They smartly represent 'old' and 'new', and they exist as little marks which aren't fabricated icons and they're not strictly type, either. I love the way they animate on the website, they represent 'love' and 'hate' on the portable touch-screen devices and how they combine to create an asterisk of sorts for the MONA shop. Just lovely.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keeping up with Keep Cups

Congratulations Abigail and Jamie Forsyth, sibling team and creators of the wonderful, revolutionary, reusable, dishwasher safe, BPA free and colourful Keep Cups. I only just realised when I saw them featured in a US design magazine last month, that they've only just hit international soil. I've been using and loving my Keep Cup for a couple of years now. The thing I love about it most is that unlike the old-fashioned thermal outdoor mugs which keep your beverage scolding and shockingly hot, these ingenious polypropylene little guys keep your coffee warm the same way a ceramic mug might. If you're reading this and you haven't thought of that perfect mother's day gift yet, I'm telling you... this is the thing!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

ERD Communications

Don't know if this is quite the platform to be promoting other design studios, but these guys are awesome and they're in Melbourne anyway, so I'm doing it.

I attended the DIA Masterclass seminar day recently, following an invitation from my lovely friend and lecturer at Enmore Take, Jacqueline Hill. Didn't get to be there for the whole day, but received some pearls of wisdom from the very clever and creative Rosanna Di Rossi, Creative Director of ERD. She shared about a series of bill posters (shown) they did to get attention one week in Melbourne when they were pitching for a big job. She talked about how important it is for designers to actually read the copy they are laying out – sounds like an obvious one, but sometimes we do skim and miss some of the important stuff. I was really inspired by the depth of concept they showed in their publications, and I'm looking forward to exploring new opportunities this year with our clients where we can try some new ideas. My aim is to be making work which raises eyebrows and makes people say 'oh that's SO clever!'.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chai Tea Packaging

I visited Newtown's Fijian grocery store the other day. I'm not exactly sure what food one eats in Fiji, but this place has proven to stock a lot of international foods I've struggled to find elsewhere. I spotted these charming little chai tea boxes on their cluttered shelves, aren't they sweet!