Category Archives: Inspiration

Inspiration 03.05.2011 – It’s a man’s world

I found a treasure trove of these old Argosy men’s magazines while doing some non-Google related research for a project. I bought a stack of them for the low price of $10 dollars. Once home I pored over the vintage gun and cigarette ads alongside stories of dangerous excursions to exotic lands. Flipping through the pages, you can almost smell the faint aroma of Lucky Strikes and Scotch Whiskey. Man, how things have changed since this publication represented the prevailing male demographic. While they may be sorely politically incorrect, these magazines are a charming window into a time when men subsisted on Seagrams, cigarettes and red meat. Everyone drove an American car and went hunting or fishing on the weekends.

If anything, these magazines paint a picture of the world of our grandfathers: men of a very different world than the one we inhabit today.

Things that inspire me – 02.13.2011

And just like that, another week has flown by. Here’s the latest bit of weekly inspiration. I’ve been looking to sources other than graphic design for ideas. I’m drawn to the textures found in handcrafted furniture, menswear design and mountainous environments. While curating this weeks inspiration post, I found underlying current of design that’s built to withstand wear and tear, but still manages to be aesthetically pleasing. I’ll call it rugged elegance. It’s something I definitely strive for in my design work.

Image 1:
Infinity Tentacle by Andrew Strauss
The Kith Café via The Contemporist
Folding sunglasses by Persol
Breuckelen Distilling Gin Packaging
Mountain Hut via TheFoxisBlack

Image 2:
Wooden Chandelier by Jason & Lars Dressler
Hobo leather accessories via Hypebeast
Visvim S/S 2011 Collection via Hypebeast

Image 3:
Reclaimed wood couch by North on Sixty
Skull Drawing by Iain MacArthur

Image 4:
Olsson & Jensen lamp via The Remodelista
Headdress drawing by Mike Giant
Barbour Jacket via The Sartorialist
Bespoke leather belt by Draught Dry Goods
Joe Strummer via The Selvedge Yard

Image 5:
Bedouin Warrior via Them Thangs
Uniform Wares Watch at Need Supply Co.
Fuck Haters tee by OMFG Co.

Things that inspire me – 01.31.2011

Like I said last week, I’m starting to use the mood-board format more and more to collect inspirational imagery. This week’s theme is somewhere along the lines of “contemporary gothic man-cave.” I am inspired by memories of my late grandfather’s den, which was filled with guns, marksmanship medals and taxidermy. With the collection below, I’m working to convey a contemporary take on the mid-century palace of masculine relaxation. Since I fully believe in giving credit where credit is due, I’ve provided the image sources when possible at the bottom of the post.

Sources –

Image 1:
Sperry ‘Cloud’ Collection
BiJulesNYC Identity by Dust La Rock
Non Native ‘The Bluffer’s Code’ Collection
Tricker’s Brogue Boots

Image 2:
Rings available at OakNYC
Stamps from my great grandfather’s collection
The Glenlivet Scotch – available at your corner liquor store
Vans x A.P.C. Capsule Collection
Modern interiors via
Old workwear buttons via Mister Mort

Image 3:
Illustrations by Matt Taylor
Typograpy by Herbert Lubalin
Tiffany & Co. Identity by Louise Fili Ltd.
Sculptures by Hiroyuki Hamada
Vintage man caves on The Selvedge Yard

Things that inspire me – 01.21.2011


Reading Monocle feels like taking a whirlwind trip around the world. The magazine curates an informative mix of topics, ranging from economic and political world news, to design culture and travel. Best of all it’s quite THICK, which is remarkable in this age where most magazines feel more and more like flimsy comic books. Monocle is one of the best examples of how the print experience can thrive in the digital age. Although the subscription price is slightly higher than newsstand, I’m strongly considering it so I don’t have to track down a copy each month.

Frank Chimero

Frank Chimero is that designer we all aspire to be. A fellow resident of Southeast Portland, Chimero’s work exhibits a rare kind of restrained wit and elegance. He has an impeccable portfolio, but beyond that he’s a very talented writer. A few months ago he published a 4-part short story on his blog titled The back of your gullet is decadent and depraved. It’s a sort of Chicken Soup for the Designer’s Soul and should be required reading for anyone trying to make it as a creative professional. Read the story HERE.


Photo by Eliza Sohn

Maryanna and I are cocktail nerds. This can be troublesome because Portland has become a hotspot of sorts for the art of mixology. Last week I read a write-up for a new bar called Central in the Portland Mercury. The review touted the concoctions of head bartender Lydia Reissmueller. Coincidentally, the weekend after reading this we were invited to a dinner party at a friends house, with cocktails provided by Reismueller. In true small-world Portland fashion, I found out that Reismueller is the fiancee of another friend of mine. I digress. Central serves amazing cocktails and delicious crepes. I had a whiskey sour made with a 12-year Elijah Craig bourbon, lemon juice and egg whites. Simple, yet so delicious.
Read the Central write-up in the Portland Mercury

Things that inspire me – 01.14.11


A good chunk of my design experience has been for retail; from window & wall graphics to full space renderings. I can trace my interest in this field back to my Tokyo trip with PNCA in 2006. Retail there was unlike anything I had seen back in the States. I spent countless hours wandering the streets of Harajuku, Omotesando and Naka-Meguro, exploring boutiques stocked with exquisite items I had no hope of affording.

Upon my return, I found that the firm responsible for some of my favorite shops is Wonderwall, a retail interior design firm headed by architect Masamichi Katayama. I love the clever details and artistic touches worked into each of their projects. This week an excellent interview with Katayama was posted Art Talks. In it, Katayama explains his approach to some of his favorite projects, very inspiring.

read the Masamichi Katayama interview HERE.
Visit Wonderwall’s website HERE.

Urban Weeds

I love street style blogs. Something about them fuels my innate love of people watching.  While outward appearance may not be everything, how a person decides to present themselves to the outside world can say a lot about their identity. After a short lived attempt at street style blogging, I know how tough it can be. Portlanders as a whole are pretty shy about being photographed, so I must tip my hat to Lisa Warninger, the photographer behind Portland’s own street fashion blog Urban Weeds.

Warninger photographs the denizens of this fair, rainy city. Her posts feature a black and white portrait, accompanied by a full-body color shot. Each entry is well considered, with details about the acquisition of each piece the subject is wearing. Warninger does a good job of mixing up the ages and locations of her subjects, keeping things varied and fresh. It’s also quite fun to see how Portland style transitions from the Summer into the colder, wet months. Since the new year she’s been updating the site on an almost daily basis, it’s well worth checking out – Urban Weeds

All photos by Lisa Warninger

Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is my favorite living novelist. I started out with Wild Sheep Chase and then read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. Now I’m working my way through Kafka On The Shore, which is already my favorite amongst what I’ve read.

Murakami captures the spiritual, surreal aspect of humanity in a way that makes sense. In his novels, the inner world of the character is just as tangible as the outer world. It’s tough to describe exactly why, but his highly descriptive, engaging prose resonates with me. I highly recommend his works.

Things that inspire me – 01.07.11

Today I’m inaugurating a new weekly category. It’s a means for me to showcase what’s really piquing my interest at the moment. Some of it will be related to design and illustration, but I want it to be much broader than that. This is what fuels me on a day to day basis, so check in every Friday for my weekly inspiration post. Now let’s get rolling!

I’ve been listening to more and more jazz in the studio lately. Not the cheesy-smooth, Kenny G type stuff. I’m talking about fully legit jazz from the golden age. Legends like Grant Green, Miles Davis and Vince Guaraldi have been seeing steady rotation. For some reason jazz and typography go hand in hand. Perhaps it’s the syncopated rhythm, or simply the expressive, improvisational nature of the music that makes it so great to design to. And how great are the album covers? Check out the one with the Andy Warhol drawing below… classic.

Street Etiquette
These guys have been blowing up over the past year, and rightly so. Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs are only 20 years old, but they’ve already developed a cult following for their era spanning style blog. Browsing their blog inspires me to wear pieces I already own in new ways. The gentlemen behind Street Etiquette are masters at pulling off timeless pieces with contemporary flair and style. Check out the blog HERE.

all Street Etiquette photos by Rog Walker.

New Boots
Lately I’ve been in the process of refining my wardrobe. I’m working towards building a solid collection of sturdy, classic pieces. I’m moving away from the flashier stuff and leaning towards neutral to darker tones and durable materials like wool, leather and denim. Starting from the ground up, I splurged a bit on these boots from Wolverine. I wanted a pair of boots that could be repaired when they start to wear, rather than just going to Goodwill or the trash. These can be both formal and casual, equally at home paired with a suit or an old pair of jeans. Plus there’s something so rewarding about breaking in a pair of boots yourself.