In the name of science

We murder flowers here at MINE™. Just another day at the office.

This flower was sacrificed to the client-gods in the name of science.. Or, well, a project that happened to include plant diagrams. Christopher ran around town looking for all the right ingredients to get this flower diagram perfect, but to the universe’s avail, we ended up with the less ideal of objects. Still, it’s a reminder about how a fun and simple idea can be communicated even without the most ideal of situations. We’re sorry, flower. You did us good.

While I can’t disclose the details of the project today, (as usual) I can say Nathan and Christopher have been working away on an annual report that a) includes the beginnings of the flower diagram pictured above, and b) has branched off into another interactive e-commerce website that I am very excited to work on. It is unfortunate that only now have I realized how much interactive design work entices me more than what I have done prior. It’s a new frontier, and I want to be a part of it.


Lost In Translation


The storm of work over the past week has finally subsided and now the office has slipped into the flow of spring cleaning. Purging the office / home garage couldn’t feel more invigorating on a slow day when San Francisco is a beautiful 75 degrees outside.

In other news, something special arrived in the mail this afternoon. What could it be? Oh, a chinese-translated version of the Just Design book? Let’s take a moment to look at all of its glory. The designers have clearly retained much of the original design. Apparently, according to Nathan, many design-related Chinese books look like this. It’s an interesting green-tea-esque color and the soft cover binding that is of a type of paper stock I’ve never felt before. I quite like it. While we’re not sure as to what those tiny floating images are on the front cover, we still think it is very charming.

I can imagine (non-sarcastically) how difficult it must be to re-layout the book from one language to another. I recently created an English / Chinese sided invitation design for a project and I now wonder if they had the same problems of how to the treat the English language, as I did with the Chinese language. I feel as though learning a native Asian language (that doesn’t use latin-based characters) like Chinese or Japanese, changes the way you visualize and prioritize basic visual elements that extend far beyond than reading a letter. For instance, I imagine when a Japanese child learns how to read and write, you learn that the Japanese character is all about balance of that space and how the strokes interact with each other. And I feel as though I remember feeling that sense of balance everywhere I looked. I wonder if the Chinese designer thought that way about the English language. Probably not.

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I’ve been bad.

It’s been quite the ghost-town on this blog. Sorry about that! The office has been busier than normal, which means this blog always manages to be 1st to be forgotten.

In recent news, we’ve had quite a few visitors since my last post. We’ve had exciting new clients, old friends, new friends and even a group of 12 students from ASU visit the office. One of the visitors even brought Miette cupcakes; the only person whose name I remembered, naturally. It was Jessica, she was sweet, and is also looking for work.

Meanwhile, my project for Katherine Delmar Burke’s School is finally wrapping up. It went generally smooth, and while we didn’t have the flexibility to get-weird with the form, it was refreshing to work on a publication again. Especially because the last I made a publication was for Eric Heiman’s class last term, in which I made a digital publication in Adobe DPS. That means no-production required—it was great. While I missed the land of RGB, it was nice being thrown back into the world of print again. I was also surprised about all the keyboard shortcuts that I managed to remember.

Thank God It’s Only Tuesday

The days here at the office have been going by very quickly recently. Perhaps it’s the daylight savings?

I’ve been working away on a publication-of-sorts for an all-girls private school here in San Francisco. It’s been my own little design project in which I’ve generally have had creative freedom. It’s a pretty conservative publication with a lot of images of lady alumnae that still connect with this school that goes as far back as the 1940s. It’s been about two weeks into this project, and already I’m starting to reminsence on Eric Heiman’s publication studio class I took last semester.. Okay, okay, fine, Eric. You win. All the rules and crying babies (figurative) have come back to somehow haunt and help me all at the same time. I’m excited for this project to wrap up so I can start helping out on other projects. That’s one natural trait of a designer, the ability and drive to multi-task and give yourself too many things to do at once.

Sorry dad, I never meant to be a graphic designer.

A few other things to think about while I’m away:

- Cyberattacks becoming our new warfare
- The Black Market / .onion / Tor
- The CIA offering $80,000 for entry-level designers (see link here)
- Kavinsky’s new album
- The sequester / Paul Ryan’s new GOP Budget Proposal
- The rare and beautiful weather right now in San Francisco
- How excited you are for me to graduate CCA



Daily Prose

A few posts behind, but we’re still here working away like elves. I’ve been given a couple new projects to work on in the last week, so this blog can sometimes be thrown on the back-burner.

We had one of our favorite clients return to our office yesterday for a quick pop-in meeting to go over some design iterations for their investor presentation. I forgot how important it is that you have to take the time to create a thoughtfully designed presentation, especially when it’s for your client’s client (their investors). You’re sending them off to present an idea that you’ve presented to them, so then they can have the funds to bring both their idea, and ours to life. Vicious cycle, isn’t it? In other news, I think we’ve learned our lesson in how excited we can really get on a project that includes solely printing on a risograph.


“8 Inches” or Whatever That Means


This week is all about commitment. It’s pushing yourself, whether you’re unsure of yourself or not, to pull the trigger and follow through with your work. It is likely you won’t do well the first time around, but I’d still commend you on getting to a place where you people can have a dialogue about whether they actually give a shit about it or not. Once you’ve got their attention, you hope to deep space (I believe more in the universe than I do god) that whatever you’ve done has allowed  your viewer to walk away with something they didn’t originally come with. It’s all about having a point of view.

On a side note, I have a feeling we won’t be entering in any awards this year. Shocker! This may change, but who knows. Design awards are overrated and incestual. (Begin discussion)
Also, I’ve realized I’ve been the mysterious new blogger of this MINE™ blog who hasn’t introduced herself. Officially, I’m Liz. Unofficially, I’m basically awesome.



Case of the CAIS Red

It pleut en San Francisco aujourd’hui. Hace frio hace frio hace frio in the studio. And our heater may or may not explode at any given time.

Today I prepared final preparations for a project that included making mechanicals and making edits to copy. I got to do a lot of 1-on-1 emailing with the client, which got me to learn a lot about how I can clearly articulate and virtually communicate to someone in a clear manner when I need to say something the client doesn’t want to hear, necessarily. I feel like in this day and age  there’s an email work-etiquette that you should follow, and while I’m pretty confident in my virtual-speaking tone, you never know if you can ever be clear enough in an email. It always seems to work out more smoothly when you have a nice client, though.

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@media [ not | only ] screen [and] (expression) { }


Responsive. Web. Fundamentals. Yay.

I spent most of today further informing myself on responsive web fundamentals and how the issues surrounding responsive images only stress the fact that responsive design is still a new way of designing websites. And as a designer, I need to pay careful attention that how techniques change and how implementations are carried out so that I’m prepared to adopt them as they mature. It’s a bit frustrating knowing that how I go about preparing a website to be truly responsive won’t be necessary in probably two or less years. </end rant>

Just so you know, I’m freshening up on some web-knowledge as there are a few new web MINE™ projects are on the way that include giving our website a face-lift. I have a feeling people have been waiting for this for awhile.


anke eve 5


Today was a long day of research for a client that is thinking about using “pioneering women motorcyclists” as a visual motif. Bad. Ass. This means that I’ve been learning a vast amount of information about early women motorcycling. Did you know that many European women who rode motorcycles were often journalists? Apparently that was a popular occupation. Anyway, besides photographic research, I did quite a bit investigating into how custom patches are made for the same client. While I’m not explicitly allowed to talk about the client relationship.. I will say that it is nice to have a project that balances out with some fun applications. Alongside the custom patchwork and visual motifs, there’s also some to-go containers, a website, sexy-girl tshirts and some interior decoration. If only this was my personal diary with a lock, and not a wordpress public feed.

It seems as though I’ll be able to work on the menu once the content gets finalized. Pretty exciting. Setting type that has to do with food? I’m okay with that. Only as long as I get a free pizza.


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Today’s Word: Death

We learned a lot about each other today in the office. We also cleaned and organized the comp room, I never thought it would be possible. There’s still 4 large piles of cool design books that need homes, but hey, I can’t complain. I feel as though when you do spring cleaning at home, you never “find” anything neat– the most you’ll find is that dusty pen you’ve been looking for or even a quarter or two if you’re lucky. Whereas a part of being an intern here is being surrounded by cool things. I “accidentally” find awesome stuff. Life is hard.

Christopher had a 3 hour client phone meeting today and I helped research for things while he was with the client. I also watched some lynda tutorials today (thanks to CCA and the free lynda account) on responsive web design which was very enlightening. I’ll be on my way to rendering some new features to the MINE™ website.

Until tomorrow.



Today’s Word: BEYONCE

Today Christopher was teaching Transitions to Professional Practice in the morning, so it was a slow start to the day. I took care of some to-do lists he had prepared for me to work on when I came in. I’m also working on putting together a simple video showing the assembly and installation of some signage MINE™ did for a client. It’s pretty epic. I’ll make sure to share it once it’s finished.

In other news, I chipped away at the to-do list which included building some mechanicals for a project. Not too exciting, but someone has to do that stuff. Naturally, it’d be me. #lifeofanintern The office and I also caught up on the traumatic Superbowl events, collaboratively photographed Christopher for nearly an hour, and attempted to solidify a song that would fit the video I’m working on.

On an ending note, you should check out the youtube video above. Jonathan Harris is a computer programmer and.. I’d say a social philosopher of sorts. Nathan showed me this film as my current thesis proposal is the “myth of happiness.” Nathan always manages to find a way to be inspiring at least 1x a week. Or your money back.




Today’s Word(s): You no like pork bun?

Today was a bit eventful: we had a visitor come in today and I continued to continually chip away at the mobile-version of this blog. Unlike when you do design work or anything that produces any type of image-making whatsoever, the end-product can vary from the amount of time and effort you spend coding. It’s tedious, requires a lot of trial-and-error (especially when you don’t have a simulator or any mobile inspector tools) and it’s incredibly frustrating when media queries don’t work when they’re supposed to. #nooneprobablyunderstandsthis

But, I will eventually get it to work. This blog is moving along and still needs a few tweaks with scale-issues on the iphone.
We’re also planning a huge spring cleaning here soon: in the comp-shower-room and the garage. So keep a lookout on a future craigslist post for free + cool stuff from Christopher. It’s going to be awesome. What’s more awesome? I get first dibs. What’s even more awesome? So do you, if you read this blog.

On an ending note: a visitor came into the office. His name was Tyler and he sounded very intelligent. That’s all I know.



Today’s Word(s): Coin Smash

The latter part of the day was filled with more errands, research and following up with vendors. I find it so fascinating to speak to different sales vendors from around the country, as it’s typically unusual I have the chance to speak to people outside of San Francisco. Perhaps I was lucky today in that I spoke to two different people who clearly lived on polar ends of our nation. (I determined from the accents they spoke with.) One lovely woman, Lois, who helped me with ordering some print samples, was from Virginia. She managed to remember who I was because of my “voice.” I don’t really know what that means, but, hey, at least there was something she thought was memorable enough. Another gentleman I spoke so monotonically I couldn’t tell where the heck he was from. Pretty impressive. Anyway, this all brings me to ask, do San Franciscans have an accent? I have heard once I “sound” like I’m from Los Angeles–what does that even mean? Does that mean anything to you?

Anyway, I’ve also been chipping away at the back-end of this blog to get it to work for mobile devices. WordPress makes it incredibly difficult to translate media queries and it doesn’t help that this specific wordpress theme hasn’t been actively in use in the community for nearly two years. I’m sorry if you are one of the few who actually read this blog on your phone.. I’ve got it to work to float into a single-column, but the posts magically decide to cut into each other. Still doing some backwards engineering (and lots of research and trial + error) to figure it out. If only there was a developer tools for use on a mobile device! That would be really lovely. #endnerdrant



I’m into weird stuff

Today was filled with research for a personal art project here at MINE™ and more cosmetic updates for the CAIS client. I’ve been on the hunt for some artwork that is inspired or contains elements of ancient Chinese snake mythology, and while it’s been more difficult than it seems, I’m really bumping up my research-strategy skills. By the end of my internship, I’ll probably be able to find about everything about anything. …Watch out, people.

I’ve also been learning quite a bit about the different techniques to print onto dinnerware. Sadly, I can’t really explain why.. But, again, it has to do with our future personal art project here. We’re getting into some weird stuff. More updates to come.

Intern out.

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 5.27.01 PM


Today consisted of some minor editing on the back-end for this blog and working on the CAIS (Chinese American International School) invitation. One thing I learned today: trying to set type with Chinese characters is much more difficult than it seems. I was working on the Chinese version (that was to be printed on the back of the English version) and while I tried my best to take it typographically perfect, I still had to make sure the Chinese characters looked optically comparable to the romanized characters.

This reminds me of a conversation I had once with Jon Sueda, who works at StripeSF and is an old professor of mine who teaches at CCA. I was asking him about his experience in the Netherlands when he worked at Studio Dumbar and his difficulties of being an American designer in a country that spoke and designed in mainly Dutch. While Jon was lucky in that Studio Dumbar does more image-making than type-setting work, Jon did mention that it was incredibly difficult to set type with Dutch words when he had to. He spoke generally about how we can often forget the power of language and take for granted the ease of being proficient in a native language. Fortunately, the translation of anything that is image-making is much more universal as a designer than attempting to set type in a different language. #shitimstuckinamericaforever

On a lighter note, I was reading up on my usual intern-design-rss-feed for today and noticed NYC’s road / parking signs got a face-list by Pentagram. Take a look for yourself. If only we could have the power for this type of change in California.. Sadly here, I’m assuming we’ve kept our unfortunately designed and totally confusing parking signage so that drunken ‘tards will read them incorrectly, get tickets and funnel the city $$$. Keep it up, California.



Today’s Word: Myth

Today was an interesting day, it was a mixture of preliminary criticism of my thesis proposals (hence, today’s word) and chipping away at fixing up the look and functionality of this blog. It required quite a bit of research to figure out how to get this website to function correctly on an iPhone, and while it’s not completely there, I hope you like the update. It looks a bit more familiar to the MINE™ main website with the use of the graphic rule, and I widened up the columns a bit so it’s easier to read. I felt as though today’s project reminded me that I actually enjoy sitting in front of a screen coding in a blacked-out room all day. It’s refreshing to give yourself a crash-course project when you have the time for it. Christopher has also been great about generally letting me do whatever to the blog; I didn’t want to change much, just make it look formally more similar to the main website.

On a funnier, lighter, (whatever emotion) note, Christopher brought these bad boys into the office today. The largest pin is even signed by the infamous UC-logo designer. Booya! That is totally going to sell on eBay years from now for like, a ka-billion dollars. I still don’t mind the logo so much when the “c” is knocked out. The gradient still gives me the creeps.. and I’m typically the one always defending and arbitrarily-over-using the gradient.

Thesis presentations tomorrow. Until Monday!






Put An Egg On It


Kobe beef is back! According to a Forbe’s article that came out last year, a limited amount of kobe beef can be imported into the United States.

Today Christopher was at CCA teaching his Transitioning to Professional Practice class, so he was gone until about 11am. If you haven’t noticed already, I gave the blog a little bit of a face-lift! It is semi-working now on iphone devices as well, but lots of elements are still a little twitchy. I forget how irritating working in CMS / wordpress is, but, I will try my best. Today felt like a short day with mostly errands and rain. Until tomorrow.



Untitled I


Today was eventful in that it was first time it was uneventful. The office was gone for the day for a meeting with a pizza-related client, so I stayed back and did a vast amount of research on Renaissance paintings. An explanation as to why I did such extensive research will come up for another day.

On a more exciting note, take a look at the interview with Massimo Vignelli in Business Week’s article regarding his thoughts about American Airline’s new logo.. Uh oh. Is it me or does that typeface look like Myriad Pro? If I was to chime in, I’d have to side with Vignelli when he says that “I will not be here to make a bet, but this [new logo] won’t last another 25 years.” Ouch.


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Today’s word: Futile

T G I F 

Today was a slow day, lots of errands and research for some “customizable commemorative plates.” Sounds freaky, right? What could we be making that includes designing onto dinnerware? You’ll just have to find out! Check back for updates. I promise it’ll be up on the blog before Chinese New Year (February 10th).

We had a couple interesting conversations today about a few interesting people. One of those groups of people include the infamous and controversial Sagmeister & Walsh, specifically their new brand identity. Take a look and comment below if you have any of your own opinions Personally, here are a few of my own observations:

1. I don’t think it’s that controversial, jarring or unexpected; sex sells and that standpoint has never been an issue in the past for Sagmeister.
2. I am curious about the conversation of gender roles that’s going on here; there’s a cd application where a girl is going down on a guy, but not the other way around?
3. Let’s be real, Sagmeister is a million years old and Jessica Walsh is 20-something and super hot. Are they trying to talk about this?

Take it all in and let it simmer.

Until another day,


New Friends.

Today we had visitors from the Northwest. Tyler and Nicole swung by the office as part of their San Francisco studio-tour all the way from Portland. We talked about hosting our own poster shows, compared the design scene in each other’s cities and shared food references. They were a cute duo; I believe Tyler was the sole designer while Nicole handled the business management side.  They had mentioned they just hired a full-time intern, but I wonder what kind of magical powers they can conjure by completing all of their work with only two designers. Then again, here at MINE™, it’s just Christopher and Nathan and, well, myself. So, I’m sure we can relate.

Anyhow, their design firm is called Factory North, check them out and ask to drop by their studio space if you’re ever in Portland!

Afterwards we went to grab a bite to eat at 903, right up the street from the office. While we had to fight over who got the last Kirin beer, food was nevertheless still tasty.

Onto the next day.


Today’s words: I’m right and you’re wrong

Today was another day of enlightening design discourse; it boiled down to having a healthy debate about whether someone else could be more right than you are, or if it even matters. Naturally, in the life of a designer and intern, we’re put in this line of fire quite frequently. I won’t get too far into details, but I will say the conversation began with this article posted in the Chronicle and AIGA. Moral of the story: Why didn’t anyone warn me that I would be entering an occupation where people would be telling me I’m fucking up for the rest of my life? #thankschristopher

On a lighter note, I also got to work on some print material for the Chinese American International School here in SF. It was a quick assignment, essentially laying out type and working with a pattern that pays homage to traditional Chinese pottery. Pretty neat. Aside from CAIS, I’ve been fortunate to see the process of another restaurant branding project that Christopher and Nathan have been working on. It’s fascinating to see the “blossoming” of the interrelationships between the client and designer in this project; I personally really think it’s like a dating relationship. You’re constantly trying to sustain a relationship where you both are on the same page about things, about where the relationship is at, about what the other person is trying to say—and it’s tough. Sometimes you get these exciting senses of renewal and sometimes it must really suck, but when things are going smoothly, I imagine it can only turn out to be really great.

Lastly, yesterday was pizza day! We online ordered and “customized” our Domino’s pizza (they’ve just recently re-designed their brand) and road-tested their new pan pizza. It arrived in a black box with some fancy ephemera-like illustration and typographic elements that looked pretty good. I was surprised. Their pizza on the other hand, was not surprising. It still astounds me that their pizza has managed to taste the same way since I had last eaten it when I was 16.


Sharing is caring

This gift has been sitting on my desk all week. I get to open it tomorrow at lunch. Here at MINE™ the holidays never end.

Making a list, checking it…

The life of a design studio intern, believe it or not, isn’t always glitz and glam. My primary task for the day has been updating MINE™’s holiday card recipient list so that Christopher can take time over the next week to make a note in each one before they’re sent out.

This task has consisted of cross-checking lists, making phone calls and sending emails to get updated addresses, more list cross-checking, and compiling a new master list for Christopher to work from. Sexy stuff.

Once we wrap up our work for the day, the studio will be open tomorrow for one more full business day in 2010. We will then close up shop for the holidays and be back at it on January 3, 2011.

So happy holidays to all. Be safe and we will see you in the new year!

List less

Hi friends.

I have been out of the office the past couple of days, sick and listless on the couch at home. Before that, we had an extended weekend due to the Thanksgiving holiday. My fragmented work schedule will continue this week, as I am off tomorrow to work on my thesis project, and then will return Friday afternoon after class to help with a few things in the studio.

But in the meantime, I am here to tell you that I like lists. And here are a few things I did today. [more]

Bao wow

We had the pleasure of eating lunch today with CCA graduate and former MINE™ intern Heidi Reifenstein, who is in the process of packing up her stuff and moving to her home state of Alaska in a few weeks. I have met Heidi just once before, so it was nice to hear what she has been up to and what lies ahead for her. She’s great; check out her work.

As we were walking toward our chosen lunch spot for the day (a little place on 7th recommended by Frank La at Oscar Printing—where we stopped for a press check), we passed this bun truck. I have seen the truck around before, but didn’t know much about its story, so when we got back to the office we did a wee bit of research. Turns out there is a little “controversy” surrounding the truck and another bun truck owner in NYC with a menu item of the same name. You can read a little about it here and here and here. If nothing else, good for business, right?


Just another day at the office

So intense.

Nuthin but a [Kenny] G thang

Today was filled with all kinds of goodness. When I got into the office in the morning I had a few things to upload for a printer before heading out to CCA to visit Christopher’s Level 3 GD class. They are in the midst of a multifaceted project that requires the creation of a 30-second public service announcement, and I was stopping by to lend a hand with any Final Cut Pro or After Effects questions they had. Most people were doing fine and just getting hung up on some little things here and there, so I was glad to be able to help in any way I could.

Once back at the office, I packed and shipped an Everything is OK poster for a fan out in the DC area and filed some print samples in our somewhat-recently reorganized print sample storage area (always fun; love those boxes). Then for our mid-afternoon work break we created a little online Kenny G/Dr. Dre remix. Try it for yourself: Open this link and also this link and press play on both. So smooth.

Tuesday newsday

We have a pretty full week here at MINE™, but it’s been kind of a deceptive busy thus far. We’re not running around the studio in a mad rush, so to the outside observer it might seem like we’re a bit slow. That is not the case, however. [more]

‘Tis the season

Here we are in the last week of October. You know what that means…

Friendly skies

Today I called around to a handful of custom flag manufacturers here in the city, as we are looking into making a real life version of the flag featured in the newly completed Realm logo. Maybe it was just my lucky day, or maybe flag manufacturers in San Francisco really enjoy what they do, because the folks on the other end sounded very friendly and happy to speak with me. [more]

A list of events

Tuesday, October 19, Twenty Ten.

1. Got into the office this morning and tidied up from the previous day—filed away some print samples, entered some business card info into the database.

2. Started working on photograph edits for the Realm Charter School booklet. Then switched gears and began printing/comping the booklet/poster/application for Christopher’s early afternoon meeting in Berkeley. Christopher got back from CCA around 11AM, where he was a guest critique(r) for another Level 3 GD class. We made some changes to a few of the pieces and I continued comping them up.

3. Christopher headed out to the meeting with comps in hand, and I took a lunch break. PB&J. So good.

4. After lunch I worked on some basketball jersey designs. Switched the radio to some “70s greatest hits” and researched vintage basketball jerseys. Stumbled upon the Pittsburgh/Minnesota Pipers, which I didn’t know about before (my ABA knowledge isn’t too deep). Switched the radio to “90s pop classics” and realized some 90s pop songs give me a stomach ache while others make me smile.

5. Took a break from the jersey designs to watch excerpts from Rad. The two best songs ever recorded are featured in that film (it’s true).

6. Worked a little more on the jerseys, then packed up and heading out for the day (while it’s still light outside, even!).

Take stock

I got into the office this morning, filled the water pitcher with a fresh supply, and was about to sit down at my desk when I noticed on my chair sat a hardcover book. Whenever something is placed on my desk or chair, it usually means that it either needs be filed away, or entered into a database first and then filed away. Since Christopher was not around (teaching class at CCA) and would not be back for a few hours, I didn’t quite know if he wanted me to scan it into our Delicious Library, whether he had seen something in it that he simply wanted to reference for a specific project, or if it was just to be filed away onto the bookshelf. The book is titled The Art of the Market: Two Centuries of American Business As Seen Through Its Stock Certificates. I decided to spend a few minutes browsing through it, and while the book itself is fairly standard fare (feels slightly textbookish), the images in it are pretty amazing. Seeing how much detail has gone into these certificates over the years and imagining someone spending hours engraving this by hand is quite impressive. I asked Christopher about the book when he got back to the studio, and it turns out he had simply been browsing for another book, saw this one for $4 and thought, “why not?”


Pass the marshmallows

One of the benefits of working in shady Bernal Heights becomes crystal clear on days like this. The thermometer outside is hovering in the 90s (weak, I know), but here we are inside the studio with our delicious mugs of hot cocoa and vintage sweaters—a brisk 56 degrees.

Actually, it is not that cold in here, but it is true that I was a bit on the chilly side at one point in the day, wishing I had brought my sweatshirt with me. (Yesterday I did actually put my long sleeves on in the afternoon. Then again, I am sick, so the measurement is skewed.)

So thinking that a walk outside in the sunshine would do some good for my cold, I felt the real temperature of the day (closer to 100 on pavement), getting a little toasty traversing the hills of Bernal on foot. While it was nice to be out and about, it felt particularly good to get back inside the cool confines of the studio. Plus, I got an extra 3 hours of sleep last night, and woke up feeling better. As I was making my way into work this morning, I realized that I grossly undervalue the importance of sleep and downtime.

Blah! It’s Monday

I am sick today and while it could be much worse, it is still not too pleasant. [more]


Color correction. I spent a good portion of today continuing to prepare photos for the new website. No magic here, just good old fashioned Photoshop work; just like your grandparents showed you. We also had a visit from a recent design graduate out of the state of Washington. I always enjoy it when people stop by to show their work, especially because I am in the process of putting together an “official” portfolio for myself, and because I will probably be in a similar situation at the start of next year. It’s nice to see how others present themselves and their work.

If you haven’t heard yet, Christopher finished the writing for his latest book last night. This afternoon we spent some time helping him brainstorm for a few final details, but the bulk of the work is done. Keep checking in on the Good Design Book blog because there is going to be more activity on those pages. We talked about a few contests and activities/events surrounding the book… I’ll stay hush for now so as not to steal Christopher’s thunder. Just stay alert.


Last week we transformed the office into a photography studio, getting images of the some of the studio’s work in preparation for the upcoming website redesign. Today we took a break from shooting to do some slight image retouching and to take stock of what pieces we still need shot.

Additionally, the sample archive has been reorganized. The garage is a better place for it. We have broken down several of the old boxes; some will be recycled and others will get reused. The only thing that remains is to modify the labeling system and place stickers on each of the boxes to clearly identify their contents. I took some time today to sketch out a few ideas for the updated label, and we will probably print and apply in the next day or so.

Friday roundup

A modest collection of phrases and images for this Friday’s roundup post. I was in the office just four days this week after returning to foggy and cold San Francisco from a week-long trip to the hot and sunny Pacific Northwest.

01.  While in Seattle last week, I stopped by and visited with friend of the studio Robynne Raye of Modern Dog in their studio. She was very kind for taking a few minutes out of a busy day to show me around. It was also awesome that only half of our conversation was about design—the other half was about, get this, dogs! (I like dogs, so this was win-win.)

02. “This is going to be my legacy to you.” While working in InDesign with Christopher next to me directing me on a particular edit for a client, I began to replace an element on the page with another, forgetting a shortcut technique that he had shown me several weeks before. This was his friendly comment to me before reminding me of the shortcut.

03. We were silently working the other day when Christopher suddenly told us of a thought he had that morning while getting ready for the day. It was about the saying, “the past helps us understand the present.” He offered up the reasoning that it might be, in fact, the opposite that is true; that the present helps us to understand and make sense of the past. I eventually concluded that there is no such thing as the present; that instead we exist in a rapid sequence of “pasts.”

Such are the conversations that randomly occur every now and then here at MINE™.


It was pretty busy last week here in the studio. A lot of small, fast-turnaround type projects kept popping up and keeping us on our toes. As soon as we’d finish one of them, another would have to be turned around in an hour or two. For a while there it was like a non-stop carousel of fun. Those are the moments when you know you’re alive. [more]

Are you my MoMA?

Last week Christopher’s oldest son finished his school year, but that doesn’t mean the learning has to end.

I send you on your weekend way with

Bounty from the Bottom of Baker’s Book Bag.

These five

Today’s entry consists of a few brief quotes/phrases/insights collected over the past week or so. Listed in no particular order except the one you see here, with limited additional commentary.

05. “Going to a design conference is like going to a spa.” People are in a good mood. Ideas flow; inspiration is abundant. Everyone is a winner.

04. A new MINE™ website is in the works, and during a recent discussion surrounding the “Clients” page, it was offered that visually-inclined people might like seeing a big grid of company logos rather than a big blocks of company names. In response, it was reasoned that a huge list of names is “in itself a visual.”

03. “If everybody did this, would the world as we know it still be able to exist?”

02. “I’m not a coupon” —During a discussion partially related to this.

01. “I want to color in the future.” —Proclaimed this morning by Christopher’s three and a half year old.

iMINE™ technology

What did you do at work today?

Went to NASA and talked to a robot.

The end.

Actually, that is indeed what happened. We took a trip this afternoon down to NASA’s Ames Research Center to meet with Singularity University (see red circle). The branding we’re working on for their 2010 Graduate Studies Program is almost finished, but we needed to finalize a few last details. As we were sitting around a conference table, I heard a mechanical whirring sound slowing increasing in volume in the adjacent room to my right. From where I was sitting, I could see past the doorframe into this room, and a little further into the hallway. Suddenly a mechanical “thing”—I couldn’t tell exactly what it was—maybe four feet tall and on wheels, rolls past the open doorway and starts down the hall. I only saw a second or two of it. Christopher, seated across the table, heard the whirring sound as well but didn’t have the same view. The Singularity folks were oblivious to it, as I guess it’s a regular thing there.

When they realized we were intrigued by what was making this sound, they called it over! Turns out it’s a robot used primarily for video conferencing purposes, currently being controlled by a human somewhere in the building. A person can log-on from anywhere and gain access to the robot’s controls via webcam. The person’s face appears on the LCD screen, and they can see and hear everything that the robot “sees” and “hears.” They can then control movement using two cameras that give them a view of the robot’s surroundings. It didn’t look like this or anything, but it was pretty sweet and less eerie. The greatest part was that they gave us guest log-in access so that we can assume controls of the robot—from here in San Francisco—during our next meeting with them. Nice.

Friday fan day

Some of you may have noticed over the past couple months on Facebook that MINE™ has been looking for suggestions on stuff to give away once the 1,000 Facebook-fan mark is reached. There have been a handful of suggestions—a few being a jar filled with 1,000 black and white jelly beans (from Brett MacFadden); an ipad (totally reasonable request by Omar Dbeis); each of the posters the studio has printed (thanks, Kate Earhart El-Bizri)—all equally excellent suggestions, no doubt.

Well, earlier this week we hit the magic number (woo hoo!). We decided against the ipad route and spent some time scouring the archives to pull some posters, stickers, and a few surprise items; it was a pretty fun task. Today we finished picking all of our lucky winners by way of a random, but highly structured, process. It was even more entertaining selecting the winners. The first thing we did was open the Fans window in Facebook. This window only shows a small portion of the total number, so we figured out how many of these subsets existed that made up our total fan count. Based on those figures, we began a scholarly, well-respected technique for determining number pairs. It went like this: Justin, pick a number between 1 and 10. Okay, now pick a number between 1 and 100.

After several rounds of this we had our winners, but in number only. The next, and longest step, was to use our previously identified window subsets and manually find out exactly who 3, 44 and friends were, and then getting a mailing address from them. If we encountered any problems—like the person not allowing any emails via Facebook—rather than simply choosing the next person on the list, we would use our 1-thru-10 number and move down that many steps to the next person. Needless to say, it was a very exciting system, and the suspense kept building as the number of available prizes dwindled. As we were selecting, an interesting thing happened. The fan count began to increase fairly significantly in a short amount of time, dropping people into different number slots. This just made it more exciting—like hitting a moving target!

So to all you winners out there, the faster you reply the faster you’ll get the goods!

Is this yours®?

In addition to a number of small-ish tasks that got taken care of today in the studio, there was plenty more discussion and design surrounding MINE™’s new future website. One of the interesting topics that came up—one that I hadn’t really previously considered—is the idea of balancing one’s personal communication (and to a certain extent, work) with a studio’s own communication (and work).

This is especially applicable with a studio such as MINE™ that has multiple streams of information constantly flowing to the outside world—the main studio website, this intern blog, the studio’s facebook page, Christopher’s CCA blog and his twitter feed, etc. If an employee of an active studio like this is extremely active as well, and accustomed to posting links/images/articles throughout the day, at what point do they stop [more]

uu uu uu dot com

Smells like the Internets up in here (said in this manner). All kinds of discussion today about MINE™’s upcoming website redesign. Questions (and some answers) about user experience(s), specific work to highlight, integration with other channels of info (social media, blogs)… goodness in the works!

First day, sort of

After the long weekend, MINE™ was back in business today, sans Tim. Well, kind of. The morning consisted of some standard studio maintenance tasks—breakdance fighting, file organization, spam email deletion. Then, about mid-day, the doorbell rang. It was Tim and he was sleepwalking, his muscle-memory kicking in and leading him to the office! When he woke from his deep sleep he decided to stick around for a few minutes and take care of some last minute odds and ends.

There are a few upcoming design competition entry dates, so I took some time today compiling all the pertinent entry information in preparation for our potential submission. I finished off the day doing a little Photoshop work on a file for Christopher, and am now finding myself having to cut this post short to head out to the first day of my summer Transitioning To Professional Practice class at CCA, taught by Cinthia Wen of Noon (and CCA’s newly appointed chair of the Graphic Design program). The class meets twice a week in the evening, so I will have to start my blog posts earlier on these days! Until tomorrow…

May 27

The first few times the phone rang this morning I was fully expecting a callback from our friends from yesterday. Luckily that feeling didn’t persist too far into the day, as Thursday turned out to be a rather uneventful one. I spent a few hours in the morning combing through samples of MINE™’s previous work. I first saw some of the studio’s pieces a few years back, and it’s been an interesting progression, first viewing the work as an outsider, then getting a different perspective having Christopher as an instructor and him bringing in and discussing work in class, and now getting an inside view of the operations behind the work.

In the afternoon Dave and Paul from House of Air came by to talk about the website design Tim and Christopher have been working on. They were really digging it, and it sounds like a few small tweaks here and there is all that is needed. It was a smooth meeting. They also made some decisions regarding furniture—café tables, picnic tables, and the like. No $3700 Belgian picnic tables this time around, but that’s okay.

To wrap up the day, Christopher, being extremely involved in the education of young designers’ minds across the land, headed out early to the Academy of Art Spring Show. I continued making some changes to the grid/layout of the intern binder, and Tim was busy burning some project files to CD. Every third disc made this weird tuba-esque sound as it spun in the drive. Sort of like this.

Other than that, at the end of the day I made a few things on the scanner with stuff lying around the comp room.

For example,

something dark

and something light.

Let me speak to your manager!

If you happened to be in the studio today around 4pm or so, you would know that today’s blog post can only be about one thing: the phone conversation that went down between MINE™ and the Fake Yellow Pages scammers.

In retrospect, it all began earlier in the day when I fielded a call from someone purporting to be from the Yellow Pages’ online directory. I immediately had feelings that it was suspect, but decided to listen for a minute in case it was legit, especially as the guy on the other end simply wanted “confirmation” on the studio’s “business information”—phone number, address, etc. Basic info that anyone can find out and that makes sense being in a business directory. As soon as the guy wanted me to start giving him new information, I declined and suggested we just stick with the basic info. He said okay and then thanked me for my time.

Done, right?

Nope. Around 4pm, I get another call from the same guy. I already spoke to you, I tell him. He replies with some business about a problem with a server and having to redo it all. Whatever. The thing that changes on this call is that now he wants me to create some “easy to remember 4-digit password” in order to secure the information. I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable creating a number and that we would decline, and that it doesn’t even make sense for me to create a password for a free business listing. So basically, for the next few minutes, after I keep telling the guy no and hanging up, he calls back about 4 or 5 times. Rapid-fire style. Christopher is on the other line and is hearing what I’m saying, so when he gets off, he tells me to put the call through to him.

The rest of it plays out more or less like this:

Christopher (CCHS) tells the Fake Yellow Pages Guy (FYPG) that he’s the owner. Christopher sits through the same “information verification.” Then he stops the guy short.

CCHS: So let me ask you something. Is this ever going to cost me anything? (his voice starting to raise)

FYPG: No, it’s free.

CCHS: So this is never going to cost me anything? Ever?

FYPG: Totally free. Forever. All you need to do is create a passcode and confirm blah, blah, blah and (speaks this last part fast—think Micro Machine Man from the 90s style) you’ll be upgraded to the elite listing for $39.99 a month, which you can cancel within two weeks.

From here on out, Christopher’s voice, tone, temper gradually accelerates with each second.

CCHS: Wait a minute. You’re telling me I have to cancel after two weeks or I’ll have to pay for it? That’s not what you said a minute ago. When I asked you if it would ever cost me anything, you should have said yes.

Fake Yellow Pages guy starts talking.

CCHS: Stop talking. Stop talking and listen for one second. I don’t want you calling here ever again. Do you understand?


CCHS: Do you understand?


CCHS: What? What don’t you understand? Never f****** call my office again. (voice especially raised)

FYPG: (pause) You bloody motherf*****; You are a motherf*****.

CCHS: Are you serious? (laughs) Are you serious? Let me speak to your manager.

Hears phone rustling.

Same guy gets back on; changes voice to different pitch: Hello?

CCHS: Yes, i just spoke with your associate who called me a bloody motherf***** after i told him i didn’t want to buy his services. Is this how you’re operating your business?

FYPG, part II: You are a bloody motherf******. I will f*** you in your a**, you motherf*****. I can take more than you can, you motherf*****

CCHS: (very forcefully without hesitation) Don’t ever call my office again.

(hangs up phone)


This Fake Yellow Pages Guy either needs to take the advice on my tea tag and act a little greater, or he took the advice too far and was feeling a little too great about himself.

03. I would like to make paper in…

…your bathtub.

This phrase was uttered a few days ago, and was shortly followed by I would like to make a volcano in your office.

04. Sometimes I take screenshots of my workspace at different points during the day. Sometimes it’s for a specific reason, to keep track of something, and other times it’s just because I like screenshots.

05. Fun fact: Last Monday somebody visited the blog on an iPad and stayed for 0:00. Horray!

06. Happy birthday to Pac-Man (tomorrow).

07. Happy birthday to the Empire Strikes Back today (courtesy of College Humor).


Through rain, sleet, or Ice

When I arrived at the studio this morning, I had a pretty important email sitting in my intern inbox. I knew it was important by the subject line. It’s amazing how much urgency one can convey with just a few words. The subject began, “For Mr. Intern…” Before I could properly respond, my attention turned to an even more important matter of the day: packing and shipping a few design competition entries, particularly for the 2010 Chicago International Poster Biennial and the Mohawk 11 show. It was my first experience filling out the entry forms, printing all the necessary labels, and properly packaging the work for safe delivery, so I took extra time to make sure it was done properly. It’s the type of thing that, once you do it several times, probably becomes second nature. In the early afternoon, a few folks from Mohawk stopped by and chatted with Christopher, and then took our entries to delivery for us. Convenient.

For the past couple of days I also have been doing some image research for a few projects, and even some furniture research for House of Air. I was looking into picnic tables that can be used for the kids and families that will be populating their facilities in the near future. I came across this especially nice set of tables from Belgian designers Wim Segers and Ronalde Mattele, also known as Cassecroute. After spending some time browsing their site, I decided that I really want one of their tables. I just have to figure out how I’m going to find one and pay for it. I’d use it in my house, even if it would take up the entire living room. Those are some nice picnic tables.

We finished the day out by listening to some great music provided our newly created Vanilla Ice Pandora station. Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Marky Mark, Will Smith and Right Said Fred all in the span of 20 minutes. Quality.

Male model

Today I took part in my first photo shoot of the summer. One of the projects underway here at MINE™ is a book of the studio’s logo and identity work. Tim and Christopher have been discussing possible front and back cover options over the past few days in between work on the Stern Grove, House of Air, The Energy Project, and other jobs, and it’s been fun listening in and seeing the progress each day. There are a few spreads in the book that still need images, and so today Christopher asked if I would do some modeling for a few of those spreads. We grabbed the camera and headed upstairs. The first task was to do a little hand/ring modeling for a Singularity University project the studio did a while back. I had to look super sophisticated, of course, so somehow I managed to contort my long arms just enough to slide on one of Christopher’s button up shirts and jackets. Actually, it took two jackets because the first one’s sleeves only made it down to my mid-forearm area. We had to grab a second one so I could slide my right arm in to give the impression in the photograph that it was one, super-sophisticated garment. I have to be honest, I had flashbacks of this clip with the coat(s) on (video after the jump): [more]


Throughout the work day while carrying out my various intern duties—whether it’s filing away print samples, conducting image searches, or even just being a part of conversations that pop-up—there always seem to be little moments of humor or inspiration or just general interestingness that reveal themselves (grammatical correctness pending on that last one). Sometimes it’s a funny phrase or comment said by someone here in the studio (I’ve noticed that the best phrases get written down by Christopher on a post-it note and slapped up onto a vintage Denoyer-Geppert wall map). Other times it’s just an interesting image that prompts me to construct a whole backstory for the people/places/things in the image.

So anyway, I figured that every now and then I’d post a few items from my list. Here are five to start out.

1. Your work is successful like an obituary is successful. It’s probably not a good thing if someone says this to you.

2. I went to file some business cards the other day in the studio’s growing collection. One particular card had a thin layer of what looked like a blue cotton coating, clearly not part of the original design. (The small tuft of cotton on the back set it off.) I went to file it but stopped short when I saw an identical (save for the cotton fur) pristine white card in a protective sleeve. It made me wonder about the blue-ish card in my hand. Where had it been? What adventures might it have gone on, and what stories might it have to tell? Instead of filing it, I placed it on my desk with a few other items. I planned to take a picture of the two cards the next day, but when I came into the studio the blue-ish card was gone. Vanished. Off for more adventure, I guess.

3. Because the physical studio space of MINE™ is located on the first floor of Christopher’s home, there are brief moments in the morning and afternoon when his kids come bursting through the door and fill the place with joy (and sometimes crying). I feel somewhat fortunate (privileged, even) to be a part of this home/office routine and the chance to get to know his family.

4. Time-lapse videos are soothing. Poetic, even, in that the busiest, most chaotic activity amounts to a slow crawl over an extended amount of time. Here’s a time-lapse video from the House of Air folks:

5. MINE™ is a small studio in terms of square footage. I’m 6’7″ on a good day, but this doesn’t phase me one bit, because for the past few years, I haven’t been able to stand up straight while showering at my apartment. Compared to that, MINE™ is an auditorium.

Hmm, that’s interesting.

The longest hour

I know you’ve seen the new Stern Grove poster. It’s sweet. If you haven’t yet, visit that link for a moment. The technique Yulia Brodskaya is flexing her superior skills with is called quilling. We had a brief history lesson today courtesy of the Internets, and learned at one point in Europe quilling was thought to be one of the “few things ladies could do that was thought not too taxing for their minds or gentle dispositions.” Hmm, I wonder what Yulia would say to that statement, because from my seat her illustration looks like it would take the mind of a razor sharp paper-ninja.

When I got in this morning, I completed some typical early-morning intern tasks: printed some labels, filed away some print samples, churned some butter. A good chunk of the day, however, was spent by all working on various aspects of the Stern Grove Festival project. Tim was busy working out the type for large signage, several versions of some shirts, and about a hundred other things. About midday Christopher and Tim had me trace the edges of paper within the Stern Grove poster. At first I just did one section to give them an idea of whether it was working and whether or not I should continue. It looked pretty nice, so the plan was for me to spend the next hour or so finishing off the rest of it. But I tell you what, those paper lines just kept coming and coming! It took slightly longer than an hour. The process of tracing became almost a meditative one as I located each edge of the pieces of paper and tried to match its path. I then passed it off to Tim who began integrating into the work he was doing. It looked pretty sweet; hopefully the client thinks so as well. Time will tell!

Happy birthday to Amelie today!

Push things forward

Today was a humbling one for me. At the end of the day yesterday I found out that I would be working on some graphics for a t-shirt; a project that previous intern Reena had begun. The client responded to the first round of submissions and we had some feedback to move forward with. It’s not an overly complicated project by any stretch of the imagination, but I found myself struggling to work fast and just get it done. It’s insightful to see the differences between school projects, where you might have a big chunk of time dedicated to brainstorming, then sketching, then revisions, etc. Here “in the real world” that process just has to be condensed into a much shorter timeframe, and after working most of the day today, I just need to get better and faster. That’s why I’m here. Theme song for my ride home.

Thursday, revisited

Yesterday I mentioned the futuristic-nature of my new camera and its photographs. Here’s how that works: Let’s say I take a photograph on a Monday. Well, this camera is so scientific, so futuristic, that the world just isn’t capable of seeing or comprehending the photograph on that same Monday. We have to wait another 21 hours before we’re even ready to view it. Our human minds essentially have to play catch-up. So I was pretty excited, to say the least, to see what gems we took with this thing on Reena’s last day yesterday. I was not disappointed. Here’s a beauty, taken just as we were leaving the office for pizza:

Here I am trying to get help stepping over the caution tape, but Reena is too busy laughing at the suits Tim and Christopher decided to eat lunch in. (We set the camera up on the shelf and Hailey the cat pushed the shutter release for us.) I think to bypass the whole 21-hour time restriction thing moving forward I’ll just take photos with a regular DSLR. You never know when I’ll want to post a photo the same day I take it; that might come in handy.

We were out of the office all day today, so on Monday I will fill you in on a bit of what we were up to.

Hey Young World

“Hey Young World”, Slick Rick, 1988

This is Justin Holbrook, broadcasting from Putnam Planet 190. As Reena mentioned yesterday, I will be assuming control of the blog-writing duties for the summer. I am very excited and grateful to begin my internship here at MINE™. I applied as a joke after losing a bet with a classmate this past semester. It wasn’t even my fifth choice.

Actually, the truth is that I knew I wanted to be a part of MINE™—even if only for a few months—after I took Christopher’s GD 2 class a few semesters ago at CCA. I learned a lot that semester and figured that it could be an even greater learning opportunity if I had the chance to see how he runs this ship from a closer view. So here I am.

My first official day, I think, was yesterday. Reena, of course, was in and I spent much of the day familiarizing myself with the studio and getting the lowdown from her on various tasks/procedures. We all went out and had a nice little lunch up the hill, and I figured out my bicycle route for the upcoming days. Today Reena was in for just half of the day, so we ate some delicious Indian pizza and saw her ride majestically into the Mission sunset, onto BADder things (BAD = Bigger And Deffer).

To top off my glorious first day of blogging, I got to take some photos with my brand-new, futuristic, top-of-the-line camera of our eventful day. This camera is so futuristic, in fact, that the world isn’t ready for the pictures that were taken with it. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow, but trust me, it’ll be worth it!


House of Air and I are totally besties. At least for today. I worked on their wristbands, made penguin feet to scale and designed socks! You know you’ve made it as an intern when you’ve designed socks.

Besides House of Air and some scanning, I also brought Christopher a chocolate cake for his birthday. I made it from the Tartine cookbook. Enitrat lives on. You might think, “Why would you go to Tartine if you have the recipes?” I now know why. Baking is hard, and their baked goods are way prettier.

I would write more, but I started the blog late today. Also the rest of the team is heading out. Until tomorrow.

Thursday trivia

What do penguin tracks look like?

Check out link

How tall is the railing on the second floor cross ramps at House of Air?

3.5 feet

How many things can you make out of a circle?

A lot.

Who won an Oscar for best short film this year?

H5 for Logorama

How do you make a photograph look like an engraving?

Engraving II – A Photoshop filter

Where is Tiburon, California?

37° 52′ 25″ N, 122° 27′ 24″ W

Are there any more Post-its in the office?

Christopher might have some.

When is Christopher’s birthday?


All these questions and more were answered today.

Monday ffffunday

Today was definitely not a manic Monday. We’re waiting to get feedback from clients or quotes from printers, so there wasn’t a ton of stuff to do. At least that statement is true for me. I spent most of the day researching about competitions and about projects that we haven’t even begun yet. When the time comes to begin, it will be good for me to have that background knowledge though. After that, I continued working on stickers for House of Air.

In between tasks, I did some visual research by taking advantage of my ffffound account which Ethan, the previous intern, gave me. MINE™ has a tradition of keeping the ffffound invite in the family. Each intern gives their invite to the next intern. Looking at work is important for us as designers to notice trends and because we get ideas by looking at visual things. I’m not saying that looking at other work is the only thing we should look at, because inspiration can come from anywhere. But it’s fun to discover new techniques and store the idea away  in your subconscious until it drifts back to the surface when it will work well with one of your own projects. Christopher keeps a kind of physical “ffffound” in the office. In the comp room, we have binders full of examples with good type and interesting formats. By having a frame of reference to work from, we are able to push the boundaries of  design and hopefully make new meaning that has yet to be revealed.

We made it.

We had to take a little extra time today, but we did it. We put in a few more hours this afternoon and finally finished our sign design proposal for House of Air. Last night I worked until 8:30 and Christopher continued on until 2:00 a.m. Like I said yesterday, environmental design can be a long, tedious process.  Now we just hope everyone approves the designs and that the signs adhere to building code.

As tedious as it was, I really enjoyed doing it. You have to think really hard for a minute, then your brain gets to rest and wander while you’re recording your information and basking in the glory of your success. In my younger years, I enjoyed math. The thing that was enjoyable about it is that there is always a definite answer. But I guess that’s what is boring about it as well. Because of my very left brained background, I had to learn that there is no right answer in design. I realized that it’s all subjective. Though this is the case there are definitely better, smarter answers than others and figuring it those out is highly gratifying.

And for anyone who was afraid of losing Puppycam, I gave out some misinformation. The little ones are still there!

Making sweet love to code

The blog is looking good. There are still some things to work out, but the list is getting shorter. Christopher did a lot of work on it over the weekend and fixed some things I was complaining about in my last post. I made some minor changes today, but they still took some time for me to figure out. My biggest victory was getting the “more” button to not give the user an epileptic seizure.

Other than making sweet love to code (Sorry. We’re listening to Motown and R&B hits on Pandora.), my day was sprinkled with intern duties such as making packages, opening packages and filing samples. One pretty rad thing we received is Stanley Hainsworth‘s new book Idea-ology: The Designer’s Journey: Turning Ideas into Inspired Designs in which Christopher is featured! There are some pretty cool photos of Everything is OK Action Kits in use. The book is full of big ideas and talks about the implementation of them. Some of the stories are pretty inspiring because many of these big ideas came out of personal projects and were not funded by any particular client. It just goes to show that doing the thing you love, whether or not you know the outcome in the end, can lead you on a spectacular, unexpected journey and makes all of the tears, sweat, and blood totally worth it.

An Emotional Day

Who knew coding could make one feel so emotional. I’m not even doing anything really difficult, but my trials of the past few hours are weighing down on me a little bit.

As you can see our new blog is up and kicking. Christopher spent some time after hours coding things that he couldn’t stand to be left unfinished overnight. When I came in this morning, there were only some minor things left to do. Or so I thought. I changed some colors of things, but I also set us up with a Typekit account. If you aren’t aware of Typekit, check it out. I hadn’t heard of it until Tim sent me the link. Christopher said he wanted to embed a font into the blog some how and apparently this is how one might go about it. It’s magic! Well, not really. There is some coding and servers all over the world involved, but you can look it up on your own.

Earlier in the day, when I was figuring things out and making things happen I was on cloud nine. But for the past few hours, I haven’t been able to do anything exactly like I wanted to. I even went down the list of tags in the stylesheet and looked them all up. I gained a lot of knowledge about CSS, but nothing actually happened on the blog post lunch.

[MORE]: Why do you do that crazy jump thing when I click on you?!

GREY ABSCESS ON MY CATEGORY BAR: Which tag controls you?!

TITLES: How do I get you to not follow the style for all the links?!

STICKY POSTS: I will figure out how to customize you if I need to.

Happy weekend! Watch Puppycam!

I’m having technical difficulties.

So we’ve finally made the switch over to the new blog theme. Pretty rad, right? I have some things to tweak and type to finesse before everything is in ship shape. Since WordPress sites go live as I update it, you’ll get to see changes in real time. It’s like watching Puppycam, but not as cute.

I worked on House of Air for a few moments, but most of my day was spent working on the blog. There’s nothing better to kill your self esteem like trying to figure out how to code things for the first time. I spent an hour or more trying to customize our header. Christopher walked up and the task was completed in minutes. It seems as though I didn’t close my tag. After I cleared that hurdle, Christopher and I spent some time trying to figure out other pieces of code to change color and column width. I have a long list of things to change still, and it’s going slowly. Once I get more familiar with it though, I hope the process will pick up the pace.

Coding is a tedious task, but it’s a fun thing to do. It’s kind of a like solving a puzzle and is really gratifying to see something start working how you want it. I’m excited about doing this project, because working with css/html was one of the things on my list of things I wanted to learn at MINE™. Two and a half months into the internship and I’m pretty sure I’ve already done most of the things on my list.


Better than a 24 hour punk rock diner

I was just telling Christopher that working here is the only job I’ve ever had that has been more fun than my stint as a server. Oh, I guess teaching was pretty fun too. But I digress.

Have you noticed the blog? It’s new and improved! Now with more visuals! Today I spent the day adding images so it will look totally rad when we make the switch to the new format. It has been fun because with each picture, I get to choose the message I want to communicate for the day. So sometimes I had a picture that worked perfectly, and other times I had to make something up. They are just blog photos, but it was a design task. We make messages with words and images, and hopefully create new meaning and context. I can’t say that all my photos live up to that statement, but I enjoyed doing it nonetheless.

After my morning of bloggery (No, that word is not in the OED…yet.), Christopher, Tim and I brainstormed about signage and graphics for House of Air. I recorded notes on a giant notepad with a sharpie while trying to contribute to the conversation. We came up with some really cool ideas for the space in which we will pitch to our clients on Friday. So after the meeting and watching Puppycam (Thanks, Emily!) for a few minutes, we started adding our signage, color, and graphic ideas to the architectural renderings. They’re starting to look pretty sweet, or maybe it’s just the beer goggles.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

HOA rendering

Blogging and jumping

My big project of the day was to start rethinking and reformatting our current blog to prepare it for a theme change. To do this, I have been going back to older blogs and adding photographs. I wrote those blog entries only two months ago, but I sense a certain naivete in them that I don’t feel now. Reflection is an interesting feeling. As a teenager, I set fire to my old diaries so that younger person didn’t exist any more. But I can’t exactly burn the blog down, so it’s here to stay.


New Blingy Horizons

Everyday that I come to work is a surprise. I feel really lucky to be here. Not only because I am learning a lot from Christopher and Tim, but because MINE™ has amazing clients. Since I’ve been here MINE™ has worked on projects for a trampoline gym that will open this summer, an education movement called Private Schools with Public Purpose, Coalition of Essential Schools’ education conference, Levi’s and Opening Ceremony, The Stern Grove Festival, The Good Design Book, The Energy Project, C+, Verizon Wireless, Wells Fargo, The Nature Conservancy, The Haiti Poster Project, and the Stanford d.School. I am amazed by the breadth of clients and how awesome everyone is. I feel like I am going to get spoiled and think that this is the way every design office is run.


A Tape

A day full of firsts

My firsts included using Keynote, dusting, and meeting Ann from Hemlock Printers.

Christopher informed me that I was the first person to dust the cabinets. For some reason, I feel a little proud about that fact. But as you can see, I was desperately seeking something to do at the moment. Today was a little slow around here. We’re waiting for client feedback on a few projects so that we can proceed with them. It’s just the normal ebb and flow of things.


cop walk

Taking Pictures in the Rain

Hello, blog readers. Sorry for not writing last Thursday and Friday. I was taking a long weekend.

I’m back in full force today. It was busy at the office, and I can’t believe the day is already coming to an end. If you happened to be walking along Cortland in Bernal Heights this morning, you may have seen me on the streets with a camera in hand. I’m sure the the neighborhood folk thought I was weird, because I would stake out a corner and snap a photo any time someone new entered the frame. I even stalked the meter cop for a while. That was kind of fun. My stalking was not in vain though. I was taking photos for a project that we are doing for the Stanford University d.School. I ended up taking about 220 photos. Ridiculous, right? After I edited them, I ended up going with one that I shot in the first 10 minutes I was outside before the first rain.

All three of us have been busy trying to get new and improved comps ready for the client. We’re hoping that they will only have minor changes after the meeting this week.

garage boxes

Check out this gun show.

That’s right. I got my workout at work today.The intern job description should include, “Must be able to lift 50lbs.” I reorganized all of our overflow work samples and came up with a chronological labeling system. Doing a mindless task and listening to the Rolling Stones Pandora station was actually kind of enjoyable though.

It’s been an all around good week at MINE™. Yesterday Christopher and I presented our logo to the client, and it went well! They were pleased with their options, and the client even chose the logo we like. We have a little bit of finessing to do, but we’ll most likely turn in final art early next week. From what I hear, this was the fastest logo ever designed and approved at MINE™. I really enjoyed doing this project. First and foremost, I love story telling. Figuring out an identity is part of the story that an organization uses to present itself to the world. But also, I got to collaborate with Christopher and learned a lot from the experience.

The fun doesn’t end today. Tim, Emily (Tim’s girlfriend and former MINE™ intern), yours truly, and guests will be attending the Levi’s Cords by Opening Ceremony launch party. We’ll be in high form tonight, checkin’ checkin’ our fresh.

Comp room

A Makeover

Makeovers are the theme of the day. The comp room got one, and Christopher talked to me about giving the blog a face lift.

The day started out slow. When Christopher noticed that I was lacking an activity, he asked me to create a list of projects to do in the office. Some he gave me, and others I came up with on my own. But until they were down on paper, I hadn’t realized that they needed to be done. Then the day was more or less non-stop and went by pretty quickly.

I organized the comp room. It’s on the small side, so things definitely need to be in order in there. I really enjoyed compartmentalizing the drawers. It was kind of like laying out a page. It’s also a satisfying feeling to know where everything is.

But the other project that I’m pretty excited about is enhancing and expanding the scope of the intern blog. I’ve never really done anything extensive in Word Press, and I’m excited to figure it all out. Maybe I’ll absorb some understanding of code in the process which seems to be a useful skill to have these days. Right now we’re in the process of finding a new theme. When we’ve decided, it will get underway.

Speaking of makeovers, Tim informed me that you could get one to look like KISS on Valentine’s Day in Dolores Park. Do that, and then go to the Pillow Fight!

Photos of the comp room were taken by Ethan Davis.

google map

Hello, Estonia!

So I am completely obsessed with Google Analytics. I am big in Japan! Well, at least one person in Tokyo has checked out the blog. I think that counts.

If any of you out in the world want to comment and say hi to me, that would be awesome. It would be like a virtual handshake. Especially you, Estonian. I feel funny being obsessed with you as a statistic and not as a person. (Other places that are totally into me: South Africa, Sweden, Portugal, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Austria, Russia, Dominican Republic, Australia, Cyprus, and Lebanon. I would love to hear from you as well.)

As per usual, we were working on the Good Design Book which included more photographing and more Photoshopping. Tim had to give me a little lesson on color correction. Not knowing how to do things in Photoshop makes me feel inadequate as a human being sometimes. But Tim was gracious and helpful, so I only felt slightly inadequate.

Other than work talk, the three of us also discussed the passing of Alexander McQueen (sad emoticon), Bollywood, and the number of ways to say “behind” in a hip hop song.

one heart

I am a photo making machine

I’m not going to say that there are no more photos to shoot until this book is actually done. Each day projects are added, subtracted, multiplied, or divided. It sounds very mathematic, because it is. Tim makes up algorithms to figure out which project should be placed where.


Booger Glue: My Archnemesis

My title sums up the last part of my day. Christopher asked me to help him prepare for his class tomorrow morning. This required taking labels and the branding off of many white objects. Sorry in advance for the student who gets the thing that is still sticky.

Other than using all the brute strength I had in my nails to scratch off labels, I submitted work into a competition and assisted Tim with the Good Design Book. Remember when I said we had one last picture? That again was a lie. We found something new to re-shoot today, and it’s a tough one. Difficult angles and weird shadows. But I’ll get it tomorrow.

Christopher had an eventful day. He got in touch with Kalle Lasn of Adbusters for GDB matters, and he got some fantastic looking samples back from a recent job. They were screen printed and had another unique production quality, but they are part of the secret project that will be revealed next week sometime.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Whoopie Cakes

So Tim’s parents are way cuter than mine. I get a newspaper clipping and he gets Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Whoopie Cakes. Tim’s an upstanding guy, so he shared. Thanks, Tim’s parents!

That was definitely the best part of the day. The rest of it included compiling URLs for the Good Design Book and calling Kinko’s, or FedEx Office if you want to be with the times.



Process and Exploration

I earned a photo credit in the Good Design Book today!

The photo studio is back up. We’re shooting and reshooting, and only two things are left on the photo list. (I love crossing things out.) My day was peppered with inertia, but Tim and Christopher had their noses to the ground. It’s been a crazy week in terms of clients needing to get in touch with Christopher so he has been knee deep in emails and phone calls.

Since MINE™ has not been my first internship, I’ve been able to see what it’s like to work in a variety of different places. I’m impressed with Christopher and Tim’s ability to wear so many hats. They’re doing all of the visual work, and also interacting closely with clients. They know exactly what their clients need and work with them so that both parties are happy. It’s very human and personal way to work. I like it.

Another thing I learned today is how to streamline the work process while also involving the client into the discussion. We came up with a list of questions for the client and will use the answers as the basis for our logo design. It keeps the design in the realm of what the client is looking for, but also helps justify the choices we make if they happen to be a little far out in left field.

Christopher recently recommended I watch Michael Bierut’s speech at the 99% conference. So I took his advice and was delighted. One of the lessons that Mr. Bierut learned was that usually the solution can be found within the problem. In a few of his case studies, his initial sketch from a client meeting was essentially the idea that he would execute.

I have a tendency to over think my design problems before I come to a decision. So I’m interested in how looking for the solution in the problem, as per Mr. Bierut’s advice, will work out for me in the upcoming weeks.

Museum of Art and Design identity by Michael Bierut. Photo found here.

Enlarging Explosions in the Airstream

I just verbally Nonseked today’s events! Boo yah!

There were no actual explosions except for the one’s coming out of our speakers brought to you by Pandora and one of Austin’s finest, Explosions in the Sky. The airstream bit came from Christopher’s Good Design Book interview today with Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H. (Did you see her on Colbert Report a few weeks ago?) She will be kicking off a nationwide tour bringing socially conscious design to a city near you in an airstream. Lastly, we’re trying to make gigantic photos.

If you’re in the SF Bay Area tomorrow, there will be a Design Revolution kick off in the parking lot of the Academy of Art University featuring an airstream full of humanitarian products, a taco truck, and a cupcake truck. It’s not to be missed! One of the great things about working here (besides meeting a lot of different people), is feeling like you’re always in the know.

Tim and I were in the office working on more Good Design Book details. He’s finalizing art and layouts. I answered a billion phone calls, and I even used Jedi mind tricks to create a Word document. For real.

ts and is


Tuesday’s tedious tasks totally took too much time.

(I was going for a sentence with 100% alliteration, but that was pretty good.)

We’re down to the details for the Good Design Book. I spent hours going through the submissions and extracting all the Grant of Rights forms, while Tim sorted them out. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon copy editing the credit listings for all the work. In fact, I’m not even finished with that task. I have two more sections to go, but I’m taking a moment to blog.

Christopher has spent the whole day designing a coupon. It should be one really rad coupon. He’s involved in a super exciting project that will launch mid-month on both coasts! So NYC peeps, look out for it on a city corner near you as well. The MINE™ office will be in attendance at a fancy launch party. I’ll be sure to post some pictures from the event to reveal this top secret project.

Being an intern today hasn’t been too glamorous, but someone has to do this kind of stuff. The best thing that happened today is the realization that it’s February! Our Pandora account has re-upped, and we’re back on the juice.

jv is everything ok

In the Particular Lies the Universal

James Joyce wrote, ‘In the particular lies the universal.’ Which means that the more authentic and genuine you become in your expression, the more others can relate to it. So, if you want love, attention, and appreciation, you need to give love, attention, and appreciation. You need to put it in the work. I think this is what separates great work from the herd. Working with the truth, and not just a trite design motif like CSA clip art takes a bit more effort, but also makes my work and life worth it. And I have found it also excites other people.”

That is an excerpt from an interview with James Victore from STEP Inside Design magazine.



To krump, or not to krump.

Yes that’s right. Dizzee Rascal was blaring through the speakers, and I was asked to krump on command.

Today was another full day of working on The Good Design Book. I was part photographer, part model. Thus the krumping.


dj reply

Stout Update

Remember my email to DJ Stout?

The Good Design Book will be getting a new submission next week!

A Good Design Book Day

Does anyone know if Lance Armstrong started the rubber wristband trend? I tried to look up the history of it, but I had no luck. As you’ve probably noticed, you can find a wristband for any cause you can think of. But you can even get one that says PRINCE V MICHAEL to wear proudly.

You might be thinking, “What does that conversation have to do with Reena’s day?” Well, plenty. Wristband hunting and Lance Armstrong were all part of my Good Design Book Day. MINE™ is nearing the end of the road on the book, and there are still some additions and edits to do. At the moment we are gathering/photographing work and accoutrement to fill in the few blank pages that remain. So today our office doubled as a photo studio. We have some seamless cleverly tucked away in a cubby and some professional lighting equipment. We had an intense moment with Lance Armstrong, but we pulled through in the end. As the person in the office who wants to prove herself, it’s a bit disappointing for me when I don’t reach the solution myself and without help. I was initially in charge of the photo, but it got tricky with what the outcome needed to be and the parameters of the page the photo would be on. So it became an intraoffice event. But I recently read some where that if you feel like you’re not the most talented person in the room, you’re in the right place. So here I am.

My blog fans (ha! yeah.) have requested photos. So next week I’ll do a photo a day.

mies van der rohe

The End of Pandora

Yep. It’s happened. We’ve listened to too much Pandora. No more Jay-Z or T. Rex stations for the rest of the month! Rude, Pandora. Really rude.

Other than that, I finished up my Photoshop duties today. So, I started on the task of photographing the remaining Good Design Book entries. Since setting up photo shoots is one of my favorite things to do, today was pretty rad even though I only got through one entry. Tim was my creative director of sorts and he made me redo one of the shots three times. He hasn’t signed off on this last attempt, so I might have to do it again. As Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details.” (Yeah, I totally looked that up). Did you know he also said, “Less is more.” So getting things just right makes a difference.

Christopher and Tim have been going through the current version of the Good Design Book to edit and make changes. I made books in school, but it’s good to be reminded about pacing, grids, and all the considerations that one takes when designing a book. Today was the first day that I really got to take a look at the projects, and it’s inspiring stuff. Not only is it a book of full of work, but there are in depth case studies and essays so that you can get behind some of the thinking and processes of the projects. It’s been a few months, but I remember that making a book is a long process. But it’s all worth it, because in the end having the actual piece in your hand is so gratifying.

Elevation study of the Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe found here.


So much to learn

Ahhh! No matter how much I think I know, I realize I don’t know much.

Today we had a client meeting, and I was really glad to have been there. I just borrowed 79 Short Essays on Design from the MINE™ library. No. 3 talks about how the designer/client relationship should be a partnership, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I witnessed in the meeting today. Christopher was presenting the logo that he and Tim have been working on and the clients had a few problems. But they worked together and the result was a pretty rad logo! This project is super exciting because MINE™ is actually building the company brand from scratch. They started with the logo but will go on to the way finding, interior graphics, and their web presence. Christopher showed me the initial presentation and the evolutions of the concept, and it’s always great to see the process. I hated seeing designers talk about their work and just show the finished product. Then you have no sense into how much thinking and work went into it. I’d get frustrated, because it seemed so easy for them and not for me. As the meeting went on, I realized that there is so much more to learn. Not just about design, but about running a business and maintaining client relationships.

I topped off the day with an adventure to the hood and photoshopping rainbows. Happy Friday!


*Studio Week West Coast

My hands hurt a little from the past few hours. Why does production always take longer than you think it will? At first, the monotony of repetitive movements is soothing. But around hour three, it starts to suck a little bit.

I’m in the process of putting labels on the Everything is OK Action Kits. These were featured in a window display on Market street for Art in Storefronts not too long ago, and I’m replacing sun-faded labels. When I’m done, these kits will replenish the supply at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. Get ‘em while they’re hot, yo.

So today is a tedious day. But Tim said I could take a stab at designing the boxes for the Word’s Greatest Mug. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

*For those of you who read this and don’t know, studio week is the sometimes grueling production week before critique at Portfolio Center.


A Monday List and Korean Design

Today is what seems to be what a typical Monday around the office will be like.

8 emails

4 of which are for Viagra

1 Avocado

1 Fake salami sand which

1 Head cold that’s making me cranky.

1 Cup of tea made by Tim

1 Good Design Book request made to American Apparel.

1 U-line sample request for the World’s Greatest Mug.

1 visitor proposing an exciting opportunity for MINE™

2.5 Successful entries/exits through the baby proof gate

1.5 Failed attempts

0 Contests entered sponsored by David E. Carter

1 Arrival of New Normal: The Netherlands, courtesy of Niko (With shout outs inside to previous MINE™ interns, Jennifer, and Oona. Seems like an amazing experience.) Which also inspired my thoughts on Korean Design today.



first day

first day

Howdy, world.

So, I’ve got some big shoes to fill. I’m a bit nervous. But luckily I have an astounding collection of socks with which to dazzle and distract Christopher and Tim.


Last day™

last day™

Out with the old, in the with the new.

Today is my last day at MINE™! It’s been a fun run — thank you for your comments, support, and for reading!

I now leave you in the capable blogging hands of Reena.

holiday cards.

Every year MINE™ sends out a fancy holiday card to our many beloved family and friends. The theme of the cards change from year to year, but the premise remains the same. The cards focus on that transition between years—the point in which one year becomes the next. Out with the old, in with the new.


Tim & Balloons


When I got to my desk this morning, I noticed a massive bundle of balloons coming from the comping room. I learned that we would be photographing these massive balloons for the annual MINE™ holiday card.

Here is Tim pondering future balloon placement:

everything is ok.

Behold, the new Everything is OK poster! Designed by The Small Stakes, and screen-printed at Bloom Press. This poster will make a nice addition in the EIOK store.


A Hundred Monkeys / Heads of State

in the mail.

Branding firm A Hundred Monkeys sent over this poster today. Just for the hell of it. Thanks guys!

Can anyone guess who designed it?

Neon Golden

neon golden.

Coming soon, to a storefront near you.