Love is in the air, and no one is more enthralled with Valentine’s Day than florists, chocolatiers, and greeting card vendors. Consider these Valentine’s Day statistics for the U.S. alone: 110 million roses are sold February 14, 58 billion pounds of chocolates, and 145 million Valentine’s Day cards. Named for St. Valentine who died on February 14 after being tortured and beheaded by a Roman Emperor, Valentine’s Day, in the romantic sense that as we think of it today, did not catch on until the Victorian era and owes much of its popular success to rapid advances in printing, paper and mass production technologies. Over the ages, Valentine’s Day evolved its own romantic ideographs – the color red, stylized heart shape, Cupid shooting arrows dipped in desire and erotic love, birds chirping to attract a mate, and typographic flourishes bursting with rapture. The Victorian card, on the left, is overlaid with a delicate doily that reveals embossed, die-cut printed images on the paper beneath. The contemporary card, on the right, designed by lettering artist Jessica Hische, expresses the exuberant complexity of love by the way the letterforms are drawn.
Gung hay fat choy! February 5 kicks off the Year of the Pig, but you probably already know that. Even nations that don’t celebrate the Asian Lunar New Year pay homage to its significance by issuing their own commemorative Pig postage stamps. The Pig is the 12th and last animal symbol on the Chinese Zodiac calendar, which runs in 12-year cycles in approximation to the 11.85 year orbital period of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.
According to Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor organized a race and invited the animals in his kingdom to participate. Twelve showed up. The emperor told the contestants that he would name a year of the zodiac after each one, according to who came in first. The cunning Rat saw it didn’t have the stamina to swim across a rapid stream and convinced the kindly Ox to let him ride on his back. Once across, the Rat leapt off the Ox without even saying thanks, and scurried over the finish line. The easily distracted Pig got bored and stopped to eat and nap, coming in dead last. That’s why the Zodiac calendar begins with the Year of the Rat and ends with the Year of the Pig. The Pig is a symbol of wealth and good fortune as well as jovialness and honesty, but it is also known for being a bit of a slob. The Pig symbol applies to those born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019.
Gung hay fat choy! Especially if you are a Pig, this is your year. Read More »
Why try to describe the product with images and words, when you can die-cut the package and give shoppers a peek inside? Especially when it comes to pasta noodles, it is helpful to see what the actual noodles look like instead of trying to recall the difference between fettuccine, rigatoni, vermicelli, macaroni, etc. This concept packaging by Moscow-based designer Nikita Konkin used the different shapes and textures of pasta noodles to create silhouettes of fanciful hairstyles in the die-cut windows. The noodle hairstyles framed a simple one-color line drawing of a woman’s face in a memorable and playful way. Read More »
Most people won’t even notice, but Dunkin’ has dropped the word Donuts from its name. The change is probably long overdue. The average millennial has no clue how the name originated or what made “Dunkin’ Donuts” so descriptive of their offering. The name is alliterative and fun to say, for sure, but only old-timers know how cleverly the name describes the favorite way to enjoy the snack. The practice of dunking doughnuts in steaming hot coffee or hot cocoa became popular around 1934 after movie idol Clark Gable showed Claudette Colbert how to do it right in the hit film “It Happened One Night.”
In 1950 when Bill Rosenberg opened the first Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, the name was an accurate description of how to enjoy the snack. Since then the number of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises worldwide has shot up to more than 11,500, and the menu has expanded to include croissants, muffins, bagels, frozen drinks, sandwiches and wraps, hash browns, and 50+ kinds of donuts. The old name was limiting and misleading and needed to be retired.
For decades, ramen has been considered “cheap eats.” Dry ramen noodles with a flavor foil packet could be bought for less than 30 cents a box. Just add a cup of boiling water, steep, and eat. More than one college student has subsisted on instant ramen for months at a time. Ramen wasn’t featured on the menu of fancy Japanese restaurants. That’s no longer the case. Now Americans are being exposed to the delicate yet complex flavor of true ramen. Freshly made ramen noodles is served with a wide selection of broths, including pork, chicken, seafood, and beef, and served with artfully arranged toppings such as vegetables, mushroom, seaweed, meats, egg, and the like.
Trendy ramen bistros are popping up all over the U.S. One of the most notable upscale ramen houses is Afuri in Portland, Oregon. The sleekly modern restaurant, which seats 90 diners, features ramen as its main specialty, and is renown for its signature ramen dish made with a citrusy yuzu broth.
Portland-based Murmur Creative was commissioned to develop a sweeping design branding program for Afuri that combines the Japanese aesthetic with the Pacific Northwest’s inviting style.
Authored by Jessica Helfand and Michael Bierut. The Design Observer has hosted conferences, launched a publishing imprint, hosted three podcasts, and attracted more than a million followers on social media. All of these enterprises are rooted in the original mission to engage a broader community by sharing ideas on ways that design shapes―and is shaped by―our lives.
HOW Design Live is a career-changing, life-altering experience that attracts innovative designers, marketers, and creative leaders at the forefront of their industries. With 7 conference tracks and over 95 hours of programming over 4 days, you’ll walk away with new skills that are essential for today’s creative professionals.