Archive for November, 2007

change the world (or go home)

November 30, 2007

from psfk. true. brilliant. inspiring. watch it. do something.

(tip: click the bottom right-hand corner to go to slideshare and watch it full screen.)


goat’s cheese with cognac fig sauce

November 28, 2007

nice little mention of jeni’s in the times here.purplogo.jpg

elementville, oh

November 20, 2007


back in late september, three heavy hitters in the design world — deanna kuhlmann-leavitt of kuhlmann leavitt, david ritter of vsa partners, and scott stowell of open — spent a weekend together at ccad evaluating the submissions for the columbus society of communicating arts (csca) 2007 creative best competition.

(for anybody who doesn’t know, the csca’s a nonprofit of graphic designers, writers, illustrators, photographers, and other creatives engaged in the communicating arts.)

and last thursday was the creative best awards show at arena grand, the annual showcase for some of the country’s best work that just happens to come right from our own fertile backyard here in central ohio, recognizing those ‘who’ve pushed boundaries. played by the rules. and broken some of them.’

elementshrunk.jpg element walked away with TWO awards of merit this year for superior work in the identity design category — the first, for their reimagination of the jeni’s brand and packaging; the second, for their reconception of our agency brand plus an assortment of sticky deliverables. (the big man hasn’t yet okayed the $ for a website redesign at the agency level, so if you want to see some of their unbelievable work, send me an email and i’ll send you a letter. better yet, have me design an insurance program for your creative small business and i’ll give you a bound proposal. if that appeals to you, stay tuned, because we’ll be launching a separate site for the new shop-within-a-shop soon!)

not only do these guys do great work, they do great local work.

so congratulations to the whole element crew! i never would’ve have brought you in if i didn’t think your work was weapons-grade. but the multiple generations in our office think and work markedly different. and identity design is one of those concepts that, while for you and me it’s a no-brainer, for older generations (though of course there are exceptions), at least in this industry, at this office, let’s just say it’s one of those concepts that wasn’t immediately grasped. which is part of the reason i’m creating new things here: so we can be fleet-footed.

download a low res .pdf of the 2007 creative best book here.

for sale:

November 19, 2007

this ’80 vespa p125 with 1,400 miles (!) over here, plus some other miscellaneous scoots. and, good gracious, no i’m not selling mine! [ed. note: 1,400 miles! are you kidding me? yowza!]



creative director

November 18, 2007

picked up a copy of c-bus magazine over the weekend, and was surprised to find artie’s charming mug staring back out at me. in c-bus? however unlikely, he was in there as part of a four-person panel, and the topic was ‘how different generations of workers approach their jobs and interact in the workplace.’

i’m 29, and work at a mid-sized agency of 17. and though i bristle at the reductive title — it doesn’t come close to capturing what i do — of the four ‘producers’ in our office, i’m the youngest by 25 years. the differences in the way we work and think might best be described as chasmal we’re so markedly far apart.

in the discussion, artie, who’s 47ish, describes himself thusly: ‘…i’m demographically a member of the baby boomer [generation], but i am clinically a member of generation x in the way i think.’ true! that’s just artie, though — a rare and freakishly-evolved species.

he and janine moon (whom i don’t know) hit the nail on the head a couple times in their articulation of the working styles of younger generations. especially artie’s observation that ‘…i don’t think that we’re making 9-to-5 people anymore.’ it’s not that we work less or less hard necessarily, it’s that we work differently.

for me, it means not settling to just ‘work’ or do a ‘job,’ but rather to find — or if it doesn’t yet exist, create — a way to take your passion and turn it into a livelihood, with whom and how you want, on your own terms, the ultimate goal being — at least for me — to blur the line between work and play to the point where it’s just: Life. why does it have to be separate? doing good work and doing Good, with like-minded folk, creating, birthing, building, or adding something new that didn’t before exist. it’s about meaning. how can you live a meaningful, engaged life, if what you do 40 hours of the week has no connection to who you are and what you really care about? if you’ve got the talent and passion, it’s not what you do mon – fri, 9 – 5 — it’s just what you do, period. when and wherever (though, of course, that alone doesn’t define you.) so, technically, yes, i work in the insurance industry, but, clinically, i am not an insurance agent. because that sure as hell doesn’t come close to defining me, what i do or how i think.

and, since i created the new thing i’m directing and passionate as hell about because we’re going to be working creatively to help great people AND build something good, it’s only fitting that my new title’s a more accurate description of what it is i actually do:

i’m your creative director. [ed. note: my responsibilities are much more than just the fun stuff, turns out.]

striking chords

November 18, 2007


i love i love [sic] treefort’s approach on this. obviously it’s not going to speak to everyone, but i think that’s at least half the point: it starts qualifying right off the bat, resonating with the target market, but probably turning away some folks, too, saving both treefort and the now disqualified former prospects some time. effective and thoughtful.

too much

November 16, 2007

ashley posted eloquently about the ‘tyranny of choice,’ something i’ve been thinking about lately, too. plus the tyranny of features.

more ≠ better.

except, where she comes at it from bras and panties, my chief concern of the moment is food menus.

during a trip to chicago last weekend, we breakfasted at lumes on saturday, and then brunched sunday at m.henry.

lumes had this sprawling, like, 8-page menu with skillets and omelets and crepes and pancakes and all this deliciousness and it was like: how can i possibly choose?

flustered, i ended up ordering an off-the-menu special — which, for me is usually a no-brainer — of chilaquiles, but which ended up being a grave mistake because nobody does chilaquiles like starliner.

plus i forgot to take a picture of the unabridged tome of a menu.

then, sunday, a liberating experience at m.henry. the wait was about 45 minutes, and worth every single minute. fun decor, interesting, diverse crowd. food-wise, this place struck me as what northstar aspires to be, but’s too anal to become.

the brunch menu’s split into two sections: savory & sweet, and really that’s all you need to know. once you decide between the two options, it’s a win-win-win-win-win.

thank you, m.henry, for keeping it simple, but also for not taking yourself too seriously. we love you for it.

*it’s worth noting, too, that m.henry’s menu, while limited, features a number of inventive seasonal specials to shake things up and keep the love affair feeling new…


r.i.p. mailer

November 16, 2007

out of town last weekend without access to wifi or the usual media, i didn’t even know norman mailer passed away saturday until it was alluded to in yesterday’s dispatch (haven’t cracked open the cover of this week’s new yorker yet but i’m sure there’s a postscript). [ed. note: there is, and they nailed it.]

but set aside for a moment what you know or think you know about mailer “the performer,” as the new yorker puts it, and consider his work. of course, he often appeared as a third-person character in his own work, so maybe that’s an impossibly tall order. forget that. the two are inseparable. both, equally fascinating.

instead, consider armies of the night, his nonfiction account of his participation in the 1967 anti-vietnam march on the pentagon. genre-wise, the nonfiction categorization of this book is often preceded with “creative” or “literary,” and it’s certainly nothing if not high art. mailer’s in full command of his writerly faculty and trenchant wit here — this book’s hilarious — and his powers of observation and eye for detail have never been keener. nor his sense of self. the egotistical “tragicomic hero” is on full display and i love every minute of it.

here’s some typical mailer on mailer, excerpted from chapter 2:

All right, let us look into his mind. It has been burned out by the gouts of bourbon he has taken into himself the night before (in fact, one of the reasons he detests napalm is that he assumes its effect on the countryside is comparable to the ravages of booze on the better foliage of his brain) however, one can make too much of a hangover, these are comic profits which should perhaps be reinvested—his headache is in truth not thunderous so much as definite and ineradicable until late afternoon, when whiskey wastes half-cleared, he will feel legitimized to take another drink. In the meantime, he must stir his stupefied message center into sufficient activity to give him a mind to meet the minds he would encounter this day, for this day, Friday, was—you will recall—the occasion on which he would lend the dubious substance of his name to those young men brave enough, idealistic enough, (and doubtless vegetarian enough!) to give their draft cards back to the government on the steps of the Department of Justice. Mailer detested the thought of getting through the upcoming hours.

armies of the night won the pulitzer prize and the national book award in ’68. go read.

shop talk

November 15, 2007

whollycraft.jpgthe dispatch is still on my desk, unopened — yours, too? — but i have it on good authority that olivia’s featured in this week’s edition of shop talk….

“they’re thankful to have a place that’s an alternative to cheaply made, mass- produced . . . crap.”

true ‘dat!

best lattes in town

November 15, 2007

been to luck bros. yet? over in grandview, off 1st? (between bag of nails and marshall’s.) best lattes in town, no joke.

(a bold assertion—yes—but certainly not one made lightly.)

of course, taste is subjective, so i’m sure there’ll be some quibbling. and quite rightly! fine espresso stirs passion.

tell you what: print off the buy-1-get-1-free coupon below, grab a friend, go see for yourself, then report back.

p.s. they’re right up the street from junctionview, so if you’re going to tiny canary this weekend, why not stop by?


she makes it. you buy it. look pretty. pt ii

November 14, 2007

amyd’s not vending at tiny canary this weekend, but you can check out her stuff online on her website, in person at wholly craft, or december 1st at the north market craft extravaganza.

or simply be one of the first 100 in the door on saturday and get one of our reusable coffee sleeves she designed and crafted by hand, for free!

here’s a little q & a we did via email: midamyd1.jpg

q: for anybody who hasn’t seen your clothes before, describe the style of your line.

a: my clothes are stand-out enough to get you noticed, but you can still make a stop at your kid’s school and not cause a scene.

q: who’s your muse? where do you get your inspiration?

a: i’m inspired mostly by practical things. meaning, a skirt can’t be see-through or scratchy and everything needs to be comfortable.

q: do you make custom stuff — e.g. can my wife call you up and say: amy, i need a straight skirt in a certain color in such-and-such a size? how does that work?

a: i do quite a bit of custom clothing. how it works for custom stuff is that someone lets me know the kind of thing they want, and what colors they like and what it’s for. (‘hey amy! i need a skirt for work and i’m a librarian, so i need to be able to bend over without showing myself and i don’t want to look like a librarian…’) so then we chat back and forth until i get an idea of what they are like and then i come up with something just for them. it’s not a situation in which someone picks a style and a color, but more as though we are working together to come up with something they will want to wear everyday.

q: do you make men’s clothes?

a: you bet. so far that’s been mainly custom.

q: you’ve got three kids. do you make them cool clothes?

a: sometimes! my son prefers to wear shirts by toothepaste for dinner, mr. pickles, and supastarr (all ohioans!)

q: what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

a: f**k it.

q: what does the world need more of? what does the world need less of?

a: good one! i’m only sure the world needs less people worrying about what everyone else is up to.

q: what’s your hope for the future of columbus?

a: i absolutely love living here! my kids love it, too. i hope columbus is able to grow and still retain its flair. i hope rents stay low enough for cool independent businesses to operate.

q: 5 lps that never get very far from your record player:

a: earwig; evil queens; rosehips; the sure things; black swans (i like my rock local!)

q: favorite kind of pie?

a: carrie pie!

q: best cupcakes in town?

a: pattycake vegan bakery

q: reading anything good right now?

a: croq zine. it’s a craft zine mostly about crafty business shiz. i love zines.

q: seen any good films recently?

a: i see everthing on video (sorry, damon!), so the last best thing i saw was garden state and it was great!

q: where do you get your news from?

a: and my teenager.

q: when are you the happiest?

a: i’m happy most of the time. i love it when my husband laughs at me when i’m acting like an idiot.

q: name somebody you admire who leads by example:

a: jill arnett. she’s like a sister to me and a kind of mentor. any success i’ve had in this venture has been a direct result of her influence and advice. olivia bratich. she’s made a lot of stuff happen that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, without wholly craft.

q: name some local crafters we should be paying attention to:

a: locura: she’s making these cool rosaries and has so many creative ideas. creatrix jane: great clothes and accessories. lucky kat: fantastically tailored retro clothes. sweet stella: cool jewelry. umbrella girl: lovely hand-crafted stationery. flamestitch: the best handbags i’ve ever seen. no kidding.

she makes it. you buy it. look pretty. pt i

November 14, 2007

if you live in columbus and are cognitively aware plus have a pulse, you know this is a big weekend coming up.banner_3.jpg

game? what game?

i’m talking about tiny canary.

the diy-inspired, modern arts & crafts market is this saturday and sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00, at junctionview. and if you’re into independent artists and designers plus all kinds of awesomeness that doesn’t suck, we know where you’ll be at 10:00.

(not to say that art and sport are mutually exclusive.)

we’re proud to be co-sponsoring this event — along with columbus underground, wholly craft, i love treefort, done waiting, alive, and couchfire (how’s that for some company!).

and much like with the new principled shop i’m running at jda (just greenlighted last week, still in beta, and so new i’ve only had time to allude to it in a previous post) where our mission is to invest in columbus’ cultural economy by working and partnering exclusively with clients who create products, services, or experiences of social or cultural meaning — give us something original, innovative, or relevant to believe in, and we’ll get behind you — likewise, the new shop doesn’t take sponsorship lightly.

this started with the scoot-a-que gift cards we did earlier this fall. why? because once we get behind something, we don’t half-ass it, and that’s rule #2. and it’s a good rule to go by: don’t get behind something unless you believe in it, because if you don’t truly believe, aren’t passionate, and don’t care, might you be tempted to just phone it in?

i see that happening a lot with event sponsorships. look: anybody can buy an experience and attach their name to an event if you’ve got enough $ these days. no?

but starting back with scoot-a-que and forever moving forward, when we choose to sponsor an event, it’s because we believe in it, and we want to help supply the ingredients that transform that culture into a community. scooters, the diy craft movement, whatever. anything exhibiting independent spirit. the emergence of the individual from the herd. people doing it themselves, on their own terms. saying f**k it.

which is why when we started talking with anne about tiny canary, and she mentioned that the first 100 folks in the door would get goodie bags, and that, as sponsors, we’d get the opportunity to include a promotional item, two things occurred to us (1) here’s a great opportunity to promote some clients and (2) this is a craft show, why not have a local crafter make our promo item?

so we ran what we thought was a genius idea by anne, anne loved it because she’s genius herself, and she was confident that between the crafty folks at couchfire and the crafty cotillion she could find someone to help us out. she went to crafty cotillion meetup at surly girl towards the end of october and threw out the idea to whoever was present.

the very next day we got a call from olivia who said she knew just the gal: amyd, who, although her bread-and-butter is making smart clothing for sartorially savvy folk like lizard mcgee and what i imagine to be a motley assortment of other stylish friends, she also happens to make these wonderful, handcrafted, reusable coffee sleeves, constructed of felt, but which felt’s in turn made of recycled soda bottles (!); and since we’re promoting our friends over at luck bros coffee shop, wouldn’t that perfect!? [ed note: olivia didn’t sound like that.]



long story, short: amyd rocks. unequivocally. it was obvious from our first conversation, obvious from her subsequent emails, obvious from her website, obvious when, after a couple weeks of emailing back and forth, i finally had the pleasure of meeting her, and it was obvious just now as we got off the phone. hanging with her and her kids for a bit, usually disparate words like ‘parenthood,’ ‘panache,’ and ‘aplomb’ started to spring to mind together, punctuated by an emphatic ‘cool.’

had such a good time partnering with her on this, least we thought we could do was shine the spotlight on her for a bit, so i fired off some amateurish, journalistic-type questions via email, she was game enough to respond back, and you’ll find the exchange in part ii of this unwieldy post…

be one of the first 100 in the door on saturday at tiny canary and get one of these, plus a buy-1-get-1-free coupon to luck bros., which is literally right down the street from junctionview. support your local, independent coffee shop!


cheeseburger, fry, coke & a dvd

November 13, 2007

first, a couple weeks ago, killing time in the dallas/ft worth aiport, i stumbled upon an ipod vending machine, which, maybe these are all over the place, but it was the first one i’d seen; then, somewhere outside indianapolis this past weekend, in a fix, we stopped in a mcdonald’s and there was this “redbox” dvd kiosk thing, which i’d certainly never seen before, and five people waiting in line to use it. $1 per dvd, per night, plus tax, no late fees. 30 or so selections to choose from, maybe more.

the new value meal?



November 9, 2007

i think advergirl might be my favorite blog right now. the updates come in semi-sporadic bursts rather than regularly, but the content’s consistently interesting and insightful. she’s a great writer, plus she’s a columbus girl, too. what more do you need?

still in beta

November 8, 2007