April 21, 2009
Posted By: ellen

Metallic Seal of Approval

There is a lot of buzz floating around in the design world about which printing processes are eco-friendly and which are not. Designers are often faced with the tough decision of whether to enhance the tactile elements of a design with special processes, many of which are not environmentally friendly and can make pieces unrecyclable.

We had heard such things about metallic inks. So when our local rep from Appleton Coated visited us, we put her to task…

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April 12, 2009
Posted By: ellen

vitaminwater10 Pop-Up

Pop-up stores seem to be all the rage recently for brands seeking boutique appeal. Glacéau is the latest to launch one in New York for their new line, vitaminwater10 – a drink containing only ten calories. The concept involved turning an empty storefront on Broadway between Bleecker and Houston into a Vitamin Water wonderland for ten days. The idea was to create a loungy atmosphere with couches, a dj, various games and refrigerators well stocked with Vitamin Water to entice people to try the new product. In an era where consumers are becoming immune to advertising, the pop-up store is a great way to get your product in front people and gain a lot of buzz in the process. They’ve also tapped into the consumer mindset by creating this little oasis in the middle of a busy shopping district. Let’s be honest… a Vitamin Water rep peddling a new product to you in the middle of a grocery store? No thank you. But a little bit of free pampering amidst an afternoon of shopping? Yes please! Read more

March 27, 2009
Posted By: ellen

KFC Pothole Repair

Businesses are pulling out all the stops to distance themselves from the tarnished image of corporations that we all have stuck in our heads. In an age where bad news is the norm, community-based, goodwill stories are getting a lot of attention. It’s not surprising that companies are trying to get off the front page and into human interest segments. Kentucky Fried Chicken recently made the news with one such story, when they announced that they’ll be filling hundreds of potholes in their hometown of Louisville, KY. The catch? They’re stamping the potholes with their logo and the tagline “Re-freshed by KFC.”

Is this a mutually beneficial relationship? Or has it crossed the line for how brands should be promoting themselves?

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March 12, 2009
Posted By: ellen

Arnell Speaks About Tropicana

A few weeks ago, Tropicana announced that they are pulling their controversial new packaging that hit the stores earlier this year. When we first saw the redesign, we had the same reaction much of the public did: yikes. The rebranding seemed to strip Tropicana from its identity and positioning in the market and leave us with a product that felt very generic, lacking an emotional connection.

As a designer, I’m interested in how the brand ended up in this spot. I stumbled across a video of Creative Director Peter Arnell, from the Arnell Group, defending his design to the press. In my opinion, he gets a bit too cerebral about what the design elements represent and loses site of the big picture (a very common design error). Click here to see how he defends his design (a.k.a. a designer’s worst nightmare). Read more

March 6, 2009
Posted By: ellen


Many of us in the office have experienced the challenge of riding a bike in the city. Though there has been some progress made to help make bike riding safer in New York, anybody who’s ridden a bike in the city will tell you it’s not enough. Bike lanes are still pretty scarce, and cyclists are given little to no presence on the road. Lightlane is a new concept that allows cyclists to bring the lane with them.

Via Dvice

February 27, 2009
Posted By: ellen

Too Cool Promo

I received this promo in the mail the other day from HSBC. You place it in your freezer for five minutes to determine if your freezer is set too low. If the plus sign becomes a minus, your freezer is colder than it needs to be.

So what does the temperature of your freezer have to do with HSBC? Technically nothing, but the story they’re telling is one of financial sustainability. They’re encouraging people to be more responsible with their money by making small changes. Responsibility seems to be an emerging theme for 2009 (for some companies at least). Corporations are attempting to regain the trust of the American people by changing their image with communication pieces such as this one. Successful or a sham?

February 20, 2009
Posted By: ellen

 Green Depot Refills

Last weekend I stopped by the recently opened Green Depot on the Bowery. The products they sell are similar to those found in most environmentally friendly aisles, ranging from household cleaners to baby and pet products to books on being green. The most impressive part of the store is the way they’ve merchandised their products. They’ve placed a huge emphasis on education by creating stations that engage shoppers and encourage them to interact with the products for sale.

When it comes to selling environmentally-friendly products, the element of education is key. Essentially, the packaging and retail environment surrounding the product need to convince shoppers of the added value of buying green. This is especially challenging now that consumers are keeping a close eye on the bottom line.

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February 9, 2009
Posted By: ellen

MSLK Things to Love

We’re big fans of Valentine’s Day here at MSLK. In keeping with tradition, we’re sharing some of our favorite things to set your heart aflutter. Whether you’ll be spending the 14th with your sweetheart or rocking it solo, we’ve found a little something for everyone to love.

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February 5, 2009
Posted By: ellen

 Cordial Invitations

I love this set of  “cordial invitations,” designed by Keetra Dean Dixon. The whimsical designs and messaging are helping to remedy my February blues. I would like to receive one of these cards, cordially inviting me to “Invest in the Fantastic,” “Make Luck,” or “Twist the Cynical Loop.” I love the delicate and playful quality in the typography – much of which appears to be created by combining geometric shapes and colors. See the individual cards after the jump.

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January 29, 2009
Posted By: ellen

Graphic Design Headline

When it comes to the news, graphic design is usually a behind-the-scenes player. While a lot of design goes into the news, the industry of graphic design rarely makes the front page (…or any page, really). We’ve been upstaged by architecture, product design, interior design, fashion design… you name it. In fact, many people (my family included) are a bit confused about what graphic design is exactly. However, if the last few months are any indication, the tides are about to turn. For the second time in the last few weeks, graphic design has made the front page of the New York Times (okay, the online edition… but still)!

First there was the buzz over the Obama logo design. Now the New York Times is examining the history of the Superbowl logo – a graphic that has a 43-year history and is seen by millions every year.

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