Occupy Sandy Shirt Design

121114-occupy-sandy-shirt-webI am very inspired and appreciative of the work that the Occupy Sandy movement is doing in bringing relief to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  I love the ‘if you have an idea just do it’ ethos.  It’s certainly messy.  But it is happening.  And it is making a difference.  In that spirit I designed this graphic to be printed on t-shirts.  The proceeds from the sale of these shirts will go to the Occupy Sandy relief effort. You can help out and buy a shirt here at spreadshirt.com.  Thanks!

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Warhol With an iPhone?

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The Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ album cover by Andy Warhol is a genius piece of art.  Straight forward yet clever, engaging, provocative, tactile… never mind that the zipper can scratch the heck out of the vinyl.  I was messing around with some photography of my own recently and it struck me that a phone in one’s pocket these days can have the tendency to be the most provocative thing suggested from the outside.  Has the phone taken over the mantle of the object in your pants with the most potential to get you in trouble? Haha…

I bet Warhol would have loved using an iPhone.

Gaijinner!: The Perennial Plate Cooks Japanese

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I have been working on a project with the amazing Daniel and Mirra of the Perennial Plate.  They are currently neck deep in filming a new season for their online sustainable food video series.  This time they are taking their show global for: Perennial Plate Season Three: ‘Real Food World Tour’.  The first leg of the tour took them to Japan and then China to look for stories about sustainable food, culinary tradition and the people that make that food.  Daniel and Mirra will be in New York on October 25th to launch their new season.  Daniel has invited chef Sean Brock of Husk and McCrady’s Restaurants to collaborate with him and chef Brad McDonald at McDonald’s Governor on a dinner that night to celebrate the premiere of the first video of the season, ‘Japan’.  Using Japanese culinary tradition as their inspiration, the three chefs will be building a menu that focuses on Japan as it might be reinterpreted from a modern Western perspective.  Hence the title ‘Gaijinner’.

To help get the word out I created the above poster for the dinner inspired by old-school Japanese cinema posters.  The poster is 14 x 18 inches.  Signed and numbered prints can be purchased for $45+shipping & handling.  Please contact me for details and to order.

Teaching Creativity in Schools – ‘Subject Mash Up!’ Platform Concept

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A couple months ago I worked with a team of strategists and creatives from firms such as Code and Theory and Cake New York to design a solution to the No Right Brain Left Behind challenge.  The challenge brief asked the creative profession to design concepts that will address the creativity crisis in US Schools Some very good ideas were generated but our separate work loads and schedules did not allow us to put in the time that we would have liked to.  Our brief foray into the notion of waning creativity in kids education did get me thinking though.

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The idea I came up with is a learning tool called ‘Subject Mash Up!’.  The basis of the concept is the idea that looking at one subject through the lens of another subject will provide opportunities for new insights and a more thorough learning experience.  The few sketches here show that ‘Subject Mash Up!’ is a platform designed to help students  learn by layering one subject over another and using that new context to ask questions and seek new understanding.  Instead of simply studying history, students could learn about it through the art of that period.  Then learn about art through the lens of storytelling and metaphoric symbolism.  Or learn about math by studying patterns in music.  The opportunities for layering different subjects over each other is nearly endless. (more sketches after jump) Read the rest of this entry →

Business Start Up Concept in a Shipping Container

11-meatball-dekalb-2-85This is a design that was submitted to the Not Just a Container contest for the new Dekalb Market in downtown Brooklyn.  Called ‘Meatspace’, it is a restaurant concept I designed around modern meatball sub sandwiches.  I adapted the concept to fit the shipping container requirements of the Dekalb Market contest.  It would contain a super-focused food prep and sale counter in the container.  It would also feature a rooftop herb garden to take advantage of the overhead sunlit square footage as well as help keep the container cool.  Kind of cheap, cheerful and fun right?   Unfortunately… this design was not selected as one of the five finalists which can be seen on the Dekalb Market Facebook page.  A bummer, but not to worry!  The Meatspace concept will live on to fight another day.  What do you think about the five finalists?

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Really, though, this business concept will work in other, more permanent, spaces as well.  I have designed the logo and graphic language for the concept.  I have also designed the menu and developed all the recipes.  This could be a very fun Summer start-up project.  I am currently looking for space and investing partners.  Please contact me if you would like more details.

Apple iPad 2 Distribution Design – Ridiculous Line Hurts Brand Identity

That day was the fourth day that I arrived at the Apple Store at 6AM to stand in line to buy an iPad (Thurs 21st, Fri 22nd, Sat 23rd & Mon 25th). On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, after waiting for between 20 minutes – 1 hour, we were told there were no iPads that day.  This evident disconnect between the channels of distribution and Apple’s own branded retail store seems ridiculous to me.  Especially from a tech company such as Apple.  A company that tracks and reviews every song download and iPhone/iPad application proposal.  For the retail store to tell me and every other customer that they “have no idea” what they will be receiving that day is crazy.  Someone does.  Even possibly as little as two people up the supply chain.  If Apple wanted to have that information available, they (you) would.  What if a potential customer could log onto iTunes or a special Apple website at midnight the night before and find out what each store would be offering in the morning: 10 iPad 64G, 15 iPad 32G AT&T, etc.  Or none for that matter.  That way the customer wouldn’t have to waste their time getting up ridiculously early and go to the store only to find that, oops!, there are no iPads that day.  Come back tomorrow and try again!  Apple would still sell the same amount of iPads.  And please do not use the excuse that giving out this retail availability information would allow people to game the system.  The system is already being gamed.  12 of the 13 people ahead of me in line yesterday morning were Chinese.  I tweeted a photo of it if you would like to see evidence.  They all bought two iPads.  And the ones that I saw while I was waiting to purchase mine all paid in cash.  I am not sure what is going on here but I bet someone at Apple does.  Is a blind eye being turned?  The New York Times even wrote an article about it happening at the Soho store a few months ago in regards to the iPhone.
I am a designer and brand consultant so I understand the concept of leveraging distribution to build demand.  But if the system that is put in place to manage demand is not designed correctly, it has the potential of doing harm to the brand image.  Maybe I am alone in thinking this, but to me it does not take much thought to realize that Apple’s system of distribution and customer information is flawed.  And we the customers suffer.  If I didn’t need this iPad for a trip this week I would have never stood in line four times and be turned away three times to buy one.  I definitely won’t do it again.  I like Apple.  But I like Apple a lot less than I did a week ago.

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Quoted from the Apple post-purchase Customer Survey that I filled out after buying an iPad 2 at their Manhattan Upper West Side store:

“That day was the fourth day that I arrived at the Apple Store at 6AM to stand in line to buy an iPad (Thurs 21st, Fri 22nd, Sat 23rd & Mon 25th). On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, after waiting for between 20 minutes – 1 hour, we were told there were no iPads that day.  This evident disconnect between the channels of distribution and Apple’s own branded retail store seems ridiculous to me.  Especially from a tech company such as Apple.  A company that tracks and reviews every song download and iPhone/iPad application proposal.  For the retail store to tell me and every other customer that they “have no idea” what they will be receiving that day is crazy.  Someone does.  Even possibly as little as two people up the supply chain.  If Apple wanted to have that information available, they (you) would.  What if a potential customer could log onto iTunes or a special Apple website at midnight the night before and find out what each store would be offering in the morning: 10 iPad 64G, 15 iPad 32G AT&T, etc.  Or none for that matter.  That way the customer wouldn’t have to waste their time getting up ridiculously early and go to the store only to find that, oops!, there are no iPads that day.  Come back tomorrow and try again!  Apple would still sell the same amount of iPads. Read the rest of this entry →

Jimmy’s No. 43 ‘Duck-Off’ – Winner!

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Jimmy’s No. 43 Restaurant in New York’s East Village recently held a friendly competition to benefit Food Systems Network NYC.  The competition, winkingly titled a ‘Duck-Off’ asked participants to serve a duck dish of their choosing to 150 people.  The judging panel, made up of Serena Di LIberto of Heritage Foods USA, Amy Zavatto of Edible Magazine, Food Network’s Jake Schiffman, Ariane Daguin of D’Artagnan, and writer Adam Robb, would be judging the dishes not only on taste but also on creativity, regional sourcing and seasonality of the ingredients used.  More info about the event can be found here.  After noticing an Edible tweet about it, I stumbled into being a contestant.

I have recently been developing a few meatball recipes so I decided to try to push my duck dish in that direction. Letting my creativity get the better of me… I served duck confit meatballs in a red wine ‘re-Duck-tion’ sauce along with duck liver pate, pickled oyster mushroom, fresh ricotta, asparagus pesto, pickled Spring onion and fiddlehead fern puree.  Oh and a little micro sprout to top it off.  A ridiculous amount of components.  But it was fun and we managed to plate all 150 dishes without too much trouble.  Also, I am honored to say, I ended up winning the competition!  My duck meatballs were awarded 3rd place in the ‘People’s Choice’ category, and 1st place as well as ‘Grand Prize’ in the judges category.  I was thrilled to accept the ‘Golden Ducky’ award.

A nice video of the event is here:

Jimmy’s No. 43 Duck-Off to Benefit Food Systems NYC from Letitia Productions on Vimeo

The ‘Duck-Off’ competition at Jimmy’s No. 43 was great fun.  The other contestants served some amazing duck dishes.  Over 150 people packed into the meandering restaurant, ate lots of duck and, best of all, supported Food Systems Network NYC.  Thanks to Jimmy and to Danielle for making it happen!  Thanks also to Hudson Valley Duck Farm for supplying me with some super tasty duck and duck livers!  Good stuff!

Shepherds on Twitter: 2010 Christmas Card Design

101220-demian-christmas-shepherds-twitterMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I am a huge fan of Twitter.  Not only is it a great way to connect with a vast array of interesting people but it also serves as a powerful source of inspiration for me.  It’s limiting structure of 140 characters per tweet and unique informational symbology have combined to create a kind of short-hand language.  A language now familiar to many people but still a language all it’s own.  So it was this Twitter vocabulary, as well as the sensibility that develops from becoming accustomed to continually broadcasting yourself, that was the inspiration for my Christmas card design this year.  Of course I also enjoy thinking about the juxtaposition of old and new, well-known scenarios examined from new perspectives.  The classic Christmas account written in Luke 2 of the visitation of the Angel of the Lord on the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks seemed perfect for a Twitter ‘interpretation’.  Hope you enjoy it.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving: Warhol’s ‘Self Portrait (Fright Wig)’

101031-demian-warhol-pumpkin-1-combo-85This is what I worked on in between trick-or-treat knocks at our door.  I do not want to think about how long this pumpkin carving project took me but…. I am pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.  A new rendition of Andy Warhol’s ‘Self Portrait (Fright Wig)’, 1986 (on the left) executed in back lit squash (on the right).  Fitting for the occasion, no?  I think  Andy would like it.  Happy Halloween. (bigger photo after the jump) Read the rest of this entry →

OpenIDEO Jamie Oliver Challenge Winning Concepts Announced!

10-demian-concept-1-win-85As you can see from this page of my website, I have contributed some creative juice to a couple of the challenges posted on OpenIDEO.  One such challenge has been chef Jamie Oliver’s ‘How can we raise kid’s awareness of the benefits of fresh food so they can make better choices?’ As a cook, a foodie and a semi-pro eater, this is a topic that is very near to my heart.  As a society our kids eat pretty darn poorly.

Well, the conclusion to the challenge had finally come.  The ten winning concepts, along with seven concepts that chef Jamie picked, have just been announced on the OpenIDEO website here.  And I was thrilled and honored to discover that one of my concepts had been chosen to be included in the winning ten.  You can see the full entry here.

I had great fun coming up with concepts for this challenge and interacting with the other designers that contributed comments on my design work and concepts of their own.  The OpenIDEO platform has been amazing in cultivating a sense of collective work to find solutions to big problems.  I am really excited to see how it develops with subsequent challenges.  I also am excited to see what chef Jamie does with the ideas and concepts that have been generated from his challenge.  His focus on school lunches and kid’s eating choices in both the UK and US is tough work but vital for us to think about.  And strive to fix.  I appreciate his efforts and look forward to seeing some real change in how kids eat.  I am happy that I could be a part of the process and contribute to his work with my concepts for his OpenIDEO challenge.  I look forward to more opportunities to contribute to Jamie Oliver’s healthy eating programs in the future.  Thanks to both Jamie and IDEO for making this challenge happen!