After quite the day running around lusting after a time when cars were so so so much more than just cars… and before getting to the most incredible dinner at Cassanova in Carmel ~ when parking on Ocean Ave, we ended up right next to these windows! And as hungry as i was, simply had to stop and take pics! Adorable window display celebrating “Concours on the Avenue” in Carmel with kids’ outfits made of maps! Very well done, and quite the contrast to what you’d find actually IN the store… and of the all the windows we wandered past, it was certainly the most interesting. Others simply added ferrari posters to their jewelry displays and such, whereas these guys went all out! Take a look at the details on the next page ~ the pockets, the shoes, so cute ~ and so much attention to the details!
STENCILS! So NOTlabs is the newest division of NOTCOT that is handling all things MAKING/Fabricating/Experimenting related… as it grows and evolves over the next few months, i can’t help but to share some of the silliness we will be exploring here! First up ~ i was curious about the world of laser cutters ~ and in need of an updated stencil (my old one from years ago was hand cut and has soaked up so many layers of spray paint by now!)… so Shawn pulled me into the lab, grabbed the NOTCOT logo eps, and before i knew it i was staring at the laser cutting through acrylic sheets that were lying around. Take a peek at it all on the next page!
p.s. i SO need a laser cutter. If you (or anyone you know) happen to be selling/upgrading any of your machinery you think NOTlabs may need ~ drop me a line!!!
On delayed San Diego Comic Con adventures ~ one of the last things i imaged writing about was Disney’s Phineas and Ferb booth. But it was massive. Had impressive branding… and a converted trailer that was turned into a HUGE Platy-BUS. Seriously, how impressive and eye catching is that thing? Making of video of it on the next page is surreal. While i must admit i’ve caught a few of the cartoon episodes, enough to at least make sense of what was going on… visually, the booth was like entering a crazy cartoon world, and they definitely took it above and beyond. Inflatable tree… with karaoke, guitar, and little platypus stools beneath it… large purple “evil incorporated” blimp flying above… and food truck like trailer serving up limited edition blind box toys of Perry the platypus pet that turns super spy… Then there’s the bizarre branding overload, with nice display cases showing off everything from the Kraft Mac & Cheese version of the characters and fruit snacks to band aids and toothbrushes… as well as other toys. It looked less like they were pitching those to kids and parents, but like a brand display to show off how far they can reach. Anyhow, it was quite a world they created… So things design worthy to note? The Platy-BUS and making of, the platypus stools, and the packaging details… check it all out on the next page!
My first reaction was “omg. super hipster plush toys?” ~ then when i couldn’t seem to close the tab and kept flipping through the pics, the adorably illustrated and reversible Patrice and Beatrice grew on me. And i secretly want them both… with their hipster glasses wearing serious fronts, and their beach ready, summer loving backs (or vice versa, on which is front and which is the back) This pair of plush toys over at Smallable are an exclusive collaboration with My Name Is Simone, aka French designer, Caroline Castagna-Suarez. “Caroline Castagna-Suarez, aka Simone, finds that Sometimes, growing up stinks. Therefore, she spends her free time battling against Seriousness, in every way she can.” See close ups of these two… as well as Super zéro, Suzanne, Simon, Daisy, and Jean-Louis on the next page!
Having just shown you the awesome Toy King Trophy won by Andrew Bell and his Androids ~ seems like a good time to share some of the Android fun at SDCC too! Launching at SDCC are Android Mini Collectible Summer special editions! 2 Heroes and 2 Villains ~ one available each day… we even took one to lunch with us (see? Tortilla chip in hand and all up there!) New Sashimi color ways ~ Worrible plushes ~ Android blind box series 2 ~ and so many more goodies available at the Dumbrella booth where i was hanging out most days (booth #1337 if you want to go visit!) Also awesome, Andrew is drawing on the blanks for people if you’re not creative enough to do your own thing… and super special, you can get a peek at the wedding cake toppers he decorated on the next page… as well as a peek at the awesome packaging details of the new Summer collectibles!
So, thanks to a few awesome toy/webcomic friends, i found myself hiding out in San Diego the last few days at Comic Con ~ while there… the first annual International Designer Toy Awards (DTA) were hosted at SDCC 2011 this year! And close friend and maker of creatures and androids, Andrew Bell, won FAN FAVORITE!!! (Congrats, Andy!)
What did winners receive? These awesome golden TOY KING trophies designed by Pete Fowler ~ so after a fun night out, we couldn’t resist a litte hotel room photoshoot to share just how awesome Fowler’s trophy is! (From all angles, and posed with one of the new limited edition Androids of course!) Check out all the pics on the next page!
Somedays you just wander into things you’ve always thought about buying… and can’t resist. I’ve always been curious about these Marshalls ~ marshmallow characters from 64 Colors ~ since posting them on NOTCOT.org ages ago ~ and the toasted ones are all different! Hand “toasting” creates unique colorations for each one ~ and i couldn’t help but go through a few before picking this guy. And while at the Rotofugi booth, the new limited edition glow in the adorable sidekick of a puppy, Gumdrop, was too cute to resist as well. Take a peek at their booth and close ups of the two on the next page!
Toys! Toys! Toys! I forgot what chaos the world of comicon is ~ but there are so many fun art toys to be stared at in one place. While i desperately need to crash before more madness tomorrow (and i’ll be helping out at the Dumbrella booth #1337 around 1-3ish if you want to come visit) ~ had to show you some of the random toy goodness that ended up in my camera… explore it all on the next page! And more posts to come on goodies i couldn’t resist, etc… soon? Perhaps.
p.s. HUGE thank you to The Vinyl Frontier for helping get me a last minute pass to SDCC to check out all the toys ~ i was a bit slow on the press reg and missed it… but he saved the day! Check out The Vinyl Frontier on DVD ~ good stuff if you’re into the world of vinyl toys!
On intriguing packages that have arrived lately ~ Poppin’s shipping packaging is hard to miss ~ as is their cheeky copy ~ and bright bright orange. From the clip board graphic on the box ready to perfectly fit the shipping label… to the silly speech bubbled air bags to protect your goods… to the plastic envelope marked “important documents”… the the branding on each and every product… and the copy. Oh the cheeky copy you’ll find everywhere… They claim to be “Office Supplies. Reinvented.” ~ perhaps… repackaged?Take a peek at it all on the next page!
Adorable HUGE “Make Summer Funner” campaign installations by Target are popping up ~ just spotted these time lapse videos of the making of the giant iconic Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox in Chicago and the Sprinkler in Houston over at AdWeek… such a fun idea, would love to see them in person, check out the vids on the next page!
Taking what may be my first actual full on “break” in a few years this week… it should come as no surprise that my life became filled with silliness and toys… so let’s kick off this catch up post with: Xploderz and their H2GROW Ammo - after having them on NOTCOT.org, when i ran across these new age water guns in person, i HAD to get one. So, here’s an unboxing of the Xploderz Xranger 2000 and a peek at how the pellets become the ammo you see. On first impressions, LOVE the concept, but the execution does leave quite a bit to be desired. The balls are actually more Tapioca/Boba/Bubble tea like… think jello jiggler marbles that smoosh on contact. You won’t really be hurting each other with these, but they do shoot impressively far and straight. Be warned though, if you’re preparing for a full on war, prep early, it takes over 4 hours to have a fresh set of ammo soak up its full potential… experiments to try later: can these become jello shots? can you use other similarly sized pellets? Frozen pellets? And to mitigate the disappointment, these are all about the novelty of the ammo… the gun doesn’t let you actually pull the trigger and the plastic/design of the gun leaves something to be desired. To launch, you pull and release, essentially launching the pellet… you also have to reload between each shot. But ~ on to the details to give you a better feel of this Xploderz Xranger 2000 and it’s jello shot like pellets, check out the next page!
So many puns just itching to get typed with this one… Graph/Graffiti, etc… Anyhow, unmistakeable is the rise (or near overwhelming amount?) of infovisualizations and infographics the last few years… So the real question is, why haven’t we seen more of this infiltrating the street art scene?
When i popped by the Studio for Creative Inquiry at CMU last weekend, i got a sneak peek at Golan Levin playing with this latest project ~ a DIY stencil for making Info-graph-iti (details up at F.A.T.: Free Art & Technology)! Using the stencil, you can use the pointer (adjustable using the tension bolt/wing-nut) and assortment of letters (attached easily with tape) to create a pie chart just about anywhere. There’s even a tiny arrow to show which section of the chart is described by your text, as well as 100 tick marks to make percentage accuracy easy.
While i love the concept ~ there’s one thing i’d love to add ~ i like my pie charts multi-colored, or at least multi-textured. Perhaps the addition of a fan or perforated stretchy material between the moving arm and the fixed divider would allow for some more playful spray painting. (Also make it look less clock like!) Fan it out to keep one section blank for a more pacman like look? Or use that, then invert it, to spray paint the significant wedge a crazy neon pink to really make it pop? You can even download the files and details. Now if only i could get my hands on laser cutter to try it out… See more pics on the next page!
There are so many possible stories to come out of the weekend in Pittsburgh at CMU with Deeplocal and Toyota for the Ideas For Good project. There are the ones in press kits, the ones marketing/pr folks go through the motions of giving you info for, and then the best ones - the one’s you discover BEING THERE. Forgive the rant, but this one’s been long over due and i just wanted to clear the air.
PRESS TRIPS. Yes, they pay for airfare, hotel, food, essentially babysitting you from door to door. Have they BOUGHT a post? Certainly not. Not even close. In fact it could be more dangerous bringing people RIGHT into the mix of an event, what if it all goes wrong? What if they find out more than you are ready to share? Do some people see it like a “free trip”? Sure. But honestly, that’s not how i see them here on NOTCOT, because lets face it… If i wanted a “free trip” i could fly somewhere and feed myself and NOT work. An amazing press trip is more like being invited and escorted to the party you were scheming about crashing. It’s about getting an opportunity to get right in to the thick of it and EXPERIENCE something that few will ever get to. And then the real responsibility comes in sharing what YOU find noteworthy about the experience ~ your words, your pictures, your angle. Afterall, if they could just BUY a story, isn’t a lot cheaper just to throw some cash around and a prewritten story and pics?
So, this is just a little ramble for all the people i’ve run across in real life lately ~ outside of these experiences ~ who asked the simple (and totally reasonable question) of WHY do these brands and groups fly you all over the world to write about them? And i’d like to think the answer is because they LOVE you guys (the NOTCOT readers) and trust me enough to come along on their ride to find the fun and unexpected to share and inspire us!
Also, on NOTCOT philosophies on press trips and products that come through ~ the overarching question is never was it “free” (hate to break it to you, but nothing is free) ~ the first question is always “IS IT AWESOME?” and second is “Would I write about it regardless of whether i purchased it/went on my own?” And the third test - was it as amazing as i’d hoped in person? If it passes these three tests, you’ll probably be hearing about it here. The ones who don’t… we can quietly ignore. And if you have more questions on the subject, feel free to leave a note below!
Ok ~ now on to the firetruck. My inner 5 year old is back in full force ~ though the fireman Gary didn’t quite let me climb around on the ladder while extended, it was still a blast getting to wander around and take pics from the TELE-SQURT (awesome name in great typography!)… go see the pics on the next page, they make me happy. Also, how awesome is watching Slim Pictures at work? They were like the secret stars of the show… can’t wait to see all they’ve been hard at work capturing in all of my pics this weekend! SO, for now ~ Firetruck! Next page…
As a new mom, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of baby stuff out there. Skip Hop is a favorite of mine for their refreshingly playful and modern designs, and for their affordable prices. I got to go to their offices to check out their Fall 2011 preview, where there were lots of new additions to the Skip Hop collection. I also got a behind the scenes look at Skip Hop’s design space, and met their lead designer (who is seven months pregnant!). Check out some photos from my visit on the next page!
They are good with the design details, aren’t they? As usual, couldn’t resist sharing the moleskine like notebook from Mercedes-Benz waiting in my room at the Shangri-La… the details, the texture in particular, the quote and graphics… it has this oceany/fingerprint like pattern/texture to it… it just pulls you in to touch it.
OH - and if i got quiet for more than the weekend (or you don’t hear from me by Monday or Tuesday) ~ come find me! First thing in the morning, i’m hopping on Mike Horn’s Pangaea massive sail boat ~ joining his world wide expedition for around 36 hours (or less?) ~ as we hop up to San Francisco from LA… but for now… more notebook details on the next page, and adventure pics to come!