Neil Gower’s Surprises

You know when you get an e-mail from a stranger who’s coming to town and wants to visit your studio? Those e-mails that you typically delete? Recently, I received one that hit my soft spot: the designer claimed to be …

Alex McKeithen: Designer as Author

In 1988, the graphic designer Alex McKeithen was a junior at Davidson College in North Carolina, venturing abroad to Europe to study painting—every art student’s dream. He spent a productive, creative summer in Tuscany, painting and listening to U2’s The …

Elegantissima!

Louise Fili is the most elegant woman I know—no exaggeration—so I had to smile when I learned the title of her monograph was Elegantissima (Princeton Architectural Press). She’s also the most Italian Italian-American I know. (She gets Italian cable!) Louise …

Mister McRogers’s Neighborhood

Hand-drawn type seems to have taken over the advertising world in the last year or so—which makes me smile, since that generally means more tasty, accessible type for the masses. So it only makes sense that McDonalds would add some …

California Dreamin’ with Marc Shur

Last year, the advertising art director and designer Marc Shur found himself needing to do something “creative” in his free time. So he started photographing signs—not your average Dunkin’ Donuts signs, mind you, but the coolest signs imaginable. “Photography has …

Put on a Happy Face

I’m easy. Okay, not easy like that—you people and your dirty minds. Vernacular signage makes me happy, and so do objects that have been accidentally anthropomorphized. Not long after seeing an upside-down mop in my driveway turn into a smiling …

Painting with Pablo

Pablo Medina describes himself as “a designer, artist, teacher, builder, filmmaker, photographer, socializer, lover, traveler, dancer, and cyclist.” Although, with his new-found interest in Buddhism, he realizes those titles are empty, meaningless labels (though I’m certainly intrigued by the dancer …

The Gift (Cards) That Keep on Giving

I’ve held on to more used Target gift cards than I’m comfortable admitting—and yet here I am, making yet another public confession about my propensity for over-accumulating. Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking that Target gift cards are the best …

Clutter My World

I wish I’d come up with “Clutter My World,” but I stole the line from Laura Levine. That Laura is one smartypants—rock photographer, illustrator, filmmaker, and owner of the business I’d most like to work for—Homer and Langley’s Mystery Spot, …

Teen! Mags! 4-Ever!

Before there was a Justin Bieber—before there was even a Justin Timberlake—there was Donny Osmond. One summer night in the 1970s, my poor older brother, Mike, was forced to take his preteen sisters to see Donny and those other Osmonds, as …