Happy Tax Day? Here’s a burst of inspiration to distract from it all! Click the squares to find out more!
Happy Tax Day? Here’s a burst of inspiration to distract from it all! Click the squares to find out more!
BioLite makes the great outdoors so playful and FUNCTIONAL! What started with their first product the CampStove (that was innovative in letting you not only utilize all the twigs and material found around camp to power your stove while also let you charge your devices!) has quickly expanded to quite the product line! Also - they always have such great packaging.
On recent product trends that have been exploding - LEDs in versatile, portable, outdoor lighting have been EVERYWHERE! And it’s been a fun space to follow (remember the Luminoodles i’ve been loving?) - From buying led strips to hack into our NOTFZJ80 Land Cruiser, to working them into various client projects and experiments - they are just ridiculously easy to work with, and getting cheaper and more accessible constantly. Which naturally means that they are a great place for designers to get even more creative! When BioLite offered to send some of their new lights over, i couldn’t resist. How adorable are these SiteLight Minis? They are like adorable glowing macarons that plug right into a USB port (via a headphone jack). They also sent over the SiteLight XL which pops up like a lantern and can be daisy chained with the minis or stand on its own! And to power it all (though you can power them from any USB battery or plug too!), they also sent over the Base Lantern XL which is INSANELY bright (but can be dimmed,color changed and more with the buttons and app!) Anyhow, the whole collection is adorable, functional, and definitely on my gift list for outdoorsy folks (or even for use on patios or stringing up for a happy hour picnic under a tree!) Take a look at all the unboxing and details on the next page!
What’s the difference between a hobby and a dream job?
Another round up of inspiration from NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more.
For anyone that loves triangles, facets, and popping colors ~ there’s Vertty. I wrote about their super fun towels back in 2014… and now they even have backpacks and bikinis! And the fun folks at Vertty just sent over one of their Vertty Backpacks to play with!
While i must admit, i haven’t been much of a backpack person since high school, the faceted nature and unusual mix of materials on this bag had me intrigued. I’m also a sucker for multipurpose bags with unique features - like the bottom zip flap to shake the sand out! Growing up by the beach in LA, and going to school practically on the beach in San Diego, my cars are never without a beach blanket/towel and flip flops! That also means more often than not, sand can be found in the car, garage, and most likely some of my totes too. (I bet this might actually work out pretty well for parents as a kid bag too - all those snack crumbs could find their way right out of the bottom!) Also eye catching - the COLORS! The fun faceted dust bag and lining pop beautifully. You can’t peek in your bag and not smile as you hunt for things! Here’s how Vertty describes it: “With its structured design and adaptive functionalities, the Vertty backpack is an inviting bridge between the carefully planned urban spirit with the demanding and impulsive thrill-seeking aspect of adventure.” Ready to take a peek at it up close? To the next page!
A grid of goodies that are currently inspiring us over at NOTCOT.org! Don’t let the digital silences deceive you… this newest phase of NOTCOT (for the first time in 12 years?!?!) has been forcing us to do more in real life that can’t yet be shared in real time digitally! So we may SOUND quieter with feature posts, but things are a currently a bit hectic with the momentum of things to come!!! BUT finding and sharing the bubbles of inspiration on NOTCOT.org are what keep me happy and balanced, so always check in there for our latest discoveries!
Adorable as they are, are you exhausted by the enamel camping cup trend yet? I love the look, but don’t love the way they feel, and definitely don’t use them other than out adventuring and in the garden… in fact, i think most of mine house plants these days! Today, it feels as if nearly every outdoor brand, hip coffee spot, cute gift shop, and event has a special enamel camp cup… so what comes next after all the retro throwbacks? While there are a bunch of larger customizable tumblers (like Yeti and MiiR) and then all of those car/work ones at the customizable swag shops…
I’m currently fixated on how lovely the MiiR Camp Cups look customized ~ in fact, while i do love a clean matte black or white… i think these actually look even better when people get creative with the graphics on them! There’s something about the thin, crisp, slight curved lines of the handle that make it so photogenic. And functionally they’ve found the balance between your lightweight, durable camp cups, but added the double walled insulation and modern materials of travel cups, while keeping it all looking pretty sleek and simple. The MiiR Camp Cup specs - 12oz, Thermo 3D double wall vacuum insulation technology, Keeps cold, stays hot, Does not sweat, Lid and cup are BPA free, 18/8 Medical grade stainless steel doesn’t transfer flavor & no metal aftertaste, and has a Hardshell Powder coat. I’m definitely intrigued whether having one around would replace my usual morning mugs even at home? But while i try to track one down (and dream up what design i’d add to it)… take a look at what some others have been doing with them on the next page!
Inspiration from NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more.
The folks at Antsy Labs launched their Fidget Cube Kickstarter back in August 2016, and it was one of the highest funded projects yet, raising nearly 6.5 million dollars! As expected, hiccups come up along the way with manufacturing, and the Dec 2016 delivery slid a little, and it just arrived (in March! Not too bad?) though it was definitely a project that spurred MANY knock offs… in fact, i didn’t even realize that there were people like this one: 24-year-old made $345,000 in 2 months by beating Kickstarters to market and it is even sadder (but eye opening! especially for designers… ) to see stories like this first hand account of finding knock off Fidget Cubes all over China, not long after the campaign ended! Perhaps the hardest thing to stomach, is how many of these “fake” fidget cubes have flooded the global and online market. You can find them all over instagram, amazon, and in lots of you tube video reviews even… but the saddest, is when you read about people who actually like the MUCH cheaper knock offs BETTER (like 3-5x the price.)
Needless to say, the Fidget Cube has been a fascinating case study to follow - and it was definitely exciting to finally get ours in person! First thing i realized? It does FEEL nice in your hand, and i’m pretty sure Shawn might disappear mine quickly… it’s INSANELY annoying as a by stander if i anxiously click, spin, roll, etc while working… and really not that quiet.
Ready for an unboxing? To the next page…
When it comes to spirits, i am usually in one of two mindsets - either i know what i like, or i’m excited to try something new. If i’m perusing the shelves, or picking from bottles up on the bar… i’m definitely prone to impulsively trying something based on the packaging. It should be no surprise that this doesn’t always go so well (though at times it can be fantastic!) So, with the help of Distiller, i’ve compiled a selection of some of their best rated spirits where the packaging caught my eye! If you’re like me, the next time you’re impulse picking - these should at least taste as good as they look (if not better!) With the Distiller App, you can not only read reviews from experts, but also weigh in with your thoughts as well. You can rate bottles (out of five stars) to help the community, and you can also see the Distiller Scores (out of 100) next to their color coded droplets.
Check out the list on the next page…unfortunately, i haven’t been able to taste them all, so i’m picking based on packaging and trusting Distiller’s team that they are truly delicious! (… and i’ll see what i can do to work my way through them when the opportunity arises!)
Current inspiration over at NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more…
We live in some pretty surprising times right now. Even those who claim to have seen it all coming, must be at least a little surprised how things keep playing out. (Here in the US as well as around the globe…) And to find a silver lining, maybe it’s a good thing that events have been polarizing enough to light a fire in people who hadn’t stepped up before… helping people figure out what’s worth fighting for and protecting… helping sort out priorities… and figuring out where, how, and when to get involved in new ways. I’d be lying to say that current events haven’t been taking over more of my brain power that in the past may have focused on design obsessions and explorations… but sometimes you just need time to take deep dives researching and processing as much information as your brain can hold in hopes of coming up with a new plan - a passionate, considered next move to make.
And then yesterday i went to the supermarket to pick up the sunday paper because i wanted a copy of their ad. This New York Times ad by Droga5! About TRUTH. Sure it’s a bit sad that it even needs to be said, but its a fantastic reminder in good times as well as bad! So take a peek at it on the next page…
So much inspiration lately - both what we’re sharing online and what we’re working on (that’s not quite ready to share - yet!) Here’s a peek at what’s been happening over at NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more.
How amazing are the bottles from Mucha Liga Tequila?!?!?! First thing it reminded me of is the Crystal Head Vodka bottle we reviewed back in 2008! But it’s a fun, faceted, luchador take on it! I was doing some research, and while on Distiller (one of our awesome NOTCOT Sponsors!) i found this review of Mucha Liga and had to find out more.
Turns out Mucha Liga Tequila, has fantastic branding in addition to their fun bottles! There are stories behind each character/flavor… and there are even mini sets of their great faceted head bottles. Check it all out on the next page.
I love a good road trip. Always have… ever since my first car and all those LA to San Diego trips and back during college… which quickly expanded to drives up and down the majority of California on a whim. And over the last 20 years, I have so many favorite stops all over the world that were found by getting lost and wandering!
While automotive design/technology is fun and inspiring, my love of driving always trumped all looks and stats. There’s something about being able to just DRIVE… not necessarily certain where you’re going, or when you’ll get there, or what you’l lfind along the way. The option to take a random road, exit, or turn on a whim, or follow signs to possibilities, or now with navigation/google maps in your pocket - spot something interesting and just aim for it! What happens in a world of autonomous cars? Will the adventure of a road trip still be possible? Will there be a “surprise me” mode?
But i digress - when i saw Frizzi Frizzi’s post on CURVES - a magazine dedicated to “soulful driving”, filled with maps, stops, and luscious pictures of not only driver’s views of roads, but also aerial views of beautiful curve filled roads… i had to know more! So i picked up the California and Sicily (two of my favorite epic road trip spots!) issues of CURVES Magazine to see how they are in person… and they are stunningly inspiring. For the roads you’ve driven, it’s like a time capsule filled with driving memories… for roads yet to be experienced, it’s like a guidebook! And for armchair travelers who like the views but not that much time in the car - it’s a peek into a stunning adventure.
Take a peek inside CURVES Magazine’s California and Sicily Issues on the next page!
It’s no secret i’ve been fascinated researching the current state of the Cannabis Packaging/Branding world lately (as is apparent from this ever-growing post from January!) It’s so fun to watch a whole new category work towards legalization… it opens up so much potential from a design/user experience side!
One of the most unique brands/products I found was definitely hmbldt - from concept to product design, packaging to scientific approach… even down to the experience of what a dose is, and how to help new users understand (and trust) a more consistent result and quality as they figure out what cannabis combinations work for them. While their first products are discreet disposable vaporizer pens, it sounds like they are working on a metered-dose oral spray as well as a rechargeable pen specifically for hmbldt formulas. Their initial offerings include 4 hmbldt formulas for Bliss, Sleep, Calm, and Relief - and just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’ve also added Arouse and Passion. For more on the scientific and future sides of hmldt - our friends at Cool Hunting have an interview with hmbldt’s Chief Scientist Samantha Miller that is a fascinating read.
So between all the pictures and information online, we got too curious, and had to play with it in person… and the packaging, the product, and the experience is impressive. Take a look at the details up close on the next page.