Current inspiration over at NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more…
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.
February! Already! What a year… amongst all the chaos these days, here’s a peek at what’s keeping us happily inspired. Click the squares to figure out more.
Just back from a quick trip up the coast to meet friends and try out the new Villas & Suites at Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley! Between the various (much needed) rain storms, we got a lovely sunny weekend to drive up California, explore Carmel/Big Sur, and most importantly, relax, catch up, and indulge in delicious wine, spa pampering, and silly leisurely activities like bocce and croquet! Also - between the 3 fire places in each suite and fire pits to curl up by throughout the property, even the chilliest nights were cozy. Tucked into Carmel Valley between vineyards and golf courses, you’re about 20 minutes into the adorable Carmel By The Sea. I’ve been torn trying to decide what to share with you, but overall, there were so many lovely details (the bathroom! the fireplaces! the views! the stars!) - here’s a look at my favorite parts. As for whether i’d recommend the Bernardus Lodge & Spa - i’m not sure, we did have a bunch of strange moments that stuck in my head, but fill you in on a few of those later. For now - take in the sights on the next page!
It all started with Shawn telling me about how we “could” drop Chevrolet LT1 E-ROD crate engine into our ‘96 Land Cruiser for our next step in our NOTFZJ80 Project… of course my first question was, “What does it feel like?” which prompted him to tell me it’s in the Corvette Grand Sport! So, when Chevy offered one to us for a week, it was the perfect way to kick off 2017 and try the LT1!
First impressions of the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport? So fun to drive, and it turns (surprising) heads everywhere you go. There’s something about styling (much like the original stingrays) that just makes people stare, grin, and wave… from little boys to old ladies, to everything in between. It was hard to stop in anywhere and NOT get asked about it. For lack of a better phrase, it definitely had a more all-American-all-ages vibe from the crowd it drew, compared to some higher end luxury sports cars. Even non car folks were excited by it. But to be honest, it is SO fun to drive, that the only time you notice all the grins and stares are while being a passenger. That sport mode on S curves is fantastic. And the touring mode was surprisingly comfortable for such a low car with a stiff suspension! While we can’t give you a ride, we can show you all the details that we love… so take a peek on the next page!
Roundup of awesomeness from NOTCOT.org! Click squares to find out more…
We’ve been finding so many interesting Cannabis products with great packaging/branding lately! So instead of hunting for them each time, or flooding NOTCOT.org with the links… here’s one big post of them!
It’s no surprise that the cannabis market is booming and growing at record speeds, and will likely continue to do so. After many recurring conversations about the design emerging around the cannabis space - i finally started rounding up some of the more intriguing packaging/branding design of cannabis products. This doesn’t even begin to look at the branding of dispensaries, architecture/interior design of dispensaries, or paraphernalia. And while cannabis product packaging is much like packaging for water, alcohol, anything you can add sugar to, etc. - when looking for inspiration to design packaging and branding for a cannabis brand, you can really find inspiration from ANYTHING. The products have enough range that you could probably have an equivalent cannabis product for nearly anything in a supermarket or drugstore. But, that being said, i was still curious what’s new in the cannabis specific space with regards to eye catching packaging… so here’s my current (and probably growing) list! Let me know if you find others i should check out!
A grid of inspiration from NOTCOT.org! Click a square to find out more.
Full disclosure - Daniel Frysinger works on the Linksys Velop, and he also founded NOTCOT with me and we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years! Weirdly enough, that means instead of being positively biased, we’ve been even MORE critical of the product (what else would you expect from designers?), and have let him use our home and studio space as testing areas, and turn us into UX guinea pigs while working through the design process! So when it finally made it to store shelves, we had to share unboxing it with you!
So that being said - i’m totally in awe of how good my internet connection finally is in the garage workshop and the pergola/deck… and every corner of the yard/driveway… even the furthest bedrooms are solid now! Mesh networks are definitely a hot trend/evolution in the home wifi router space, and they all seem to advertises how many nodes you need based on the size of your home to properly reach ALL the spots we hang out - both inside and out! With 4-5 Linksys Velop Nodes we cover ~13,000 sqft inside and out amazingly well, and it’s nice that you just need a power cord and close enough proximity to another node to expand coverage. Each node has 2 ethernet ports, so you can easily hook up an ethernet drive or other hard wired accessories where needed. Also, all nodes are equal - no master/slave situation, so they are completely versatile. In other words, if you move and find you need less nodes, you can always share them with a friend, or use them for better wifi at your vacation home.
The other fascinating wifi router trend is an industrial design one! They are finally getting prettier and more interesting as designers help consumers display (instead of hide) their routers. It makes perfect sense, the more exposed and centrally located they are, the better signal you get! Yet somehow, many of us have had them stashed in closets and behind objects on shelves and more. So while the Linksys Velop Nodes aren’t the tiniest, they are filled with thoughtful design details. (Also, when it comes to my wifi, i’ll take slightly larger router with WAY better signal any day.) While most press photos show you the plain, solid, white side with a logo, my favorite view is actually the back at an angle. There’s something almost sculptural with the perforated white square/squircle (?) tower with the cut out corner!
On to the unboxing and up close with the design details! To the next page!
SPYTAIL Ginger Rum!!! The most stunning press kit just arrived from our friends at Biggar & Leith - you know, the folks behind the delicious and beautiful Malfy Gin we tried last March. Well SPYTAIL Ginger Rum taps right into all my childhood loves of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, Tintin’s Shark Submarine, Bathyspheres and undersea adventuring (and the amazing gear that goes with it)… It blew my mind to open up a box and see a porthole staring back at me! Of course with a stunning bulbous bottle of rum staring out from within.
Sipping it straight while i work on this post, it’s deliciously warming, with quite the gingery punch. As for the story ~ “SPYTAIL Black Ginger Rum - Caribbean Rum blended and bottled in Cognac, France. SPYTAIL is based on a 19th Century traditional recipe of aging fresh ginger root and spices in barrels of Rum - resulting in a rich, spicy and complex spirit. SPYTAIL is named after a legendary submarine - plans for which were discovered by our distillers. The first mechanical submarines in the world were invented in France - and tested on the Charente River which flows nearby our distillery. These were the submarines which Jules Vernes used as the inspiration for his famous novel - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” From a packaging standpoint, the bottle is so beautiful, even those who don’t love ginger might want it on their bar!
But on to the press kit ~ through the porthole ~ and into all the packaging details on the next page.
p.s. On amazing little details - hidden within the bottle porthole are the co-ordinates of the final resting place of Jules Vernes.
The Art of Play Curiosity Box 2016 is a magical and wondrous thing that promises “unique & clever amusements” - just what you need to help kick off your 2017! Especially the 3D Card Star of laser cut magicalness designed by mathematician George W. Hart (father of one of my favorite youtubers - Vi Hart)! There’s nothing like a good puzzle to get me out of a funk - though of course all the good ones drive you a bit more mad and frustrated to make solving them THAT much more satisfying. Also the Curiosity Box has delectable dark chocolate - that is ALSO a puzzle (though one that doesn’t last long.) Oh and the spring! So elegant, so pretty… then i handed it to Shawn and he solved it in seconds - reminding me the puzzle is basically a problem he’d accidentally run into when working on cars…
2016 was a funny kind of year, and while 2017 is full of uncertainty thus far - i’m feeling hopeful. And silly, fun amusements like these definitely help - so thank you, Art of Play for the surprise box of hopeful happiness! Ready to dive into the unboxing and details? To the next page!