Inspiration from NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more.
The folks at Antsy Labs launched their Fidget Cube Kickstarter back in August 2016, and it was one of the highest funded projects yet, raising nearly 6.5 million dollars! As expected, hiccups come up along the way with manufacturing, and the Dec 2016 delivery slid a little, and it just arrived (in March! Not too bad?) though it was definitely a project that spurred MANY knock offs… in fact, i didn’t even realize that there were people like this one: 24-year-old made $345,000 in 2 months by beating Kickstarters to market and it is even sadder (but eye opening! especially for designers… ) to see stories like this first hand account of finding knock off Fidget Cubes all over China, not long after the campaign ended! Perhaps the hardest thing to stomach, is how many of these “fake” fidget cubes have flooded the global and online market. You can find them all over instagram, amazon, and in lots of you tube video reviews even… but the saddest, is when you read about people who actually like the MUCH cheaper knock offs BETTER (like 3-5x the price.)
Needless to say, the Fidget Cube has been a fascinating case study to follow - and it was definitely exciting to finally get ours in person! First thing i realized? It does FEEL nice in your hand, and i’m pretty sure Shawn might disappear mine quickly… it’s INSANELY annoying as a by stander if i anxiously click, spin, roll, etc while working… and really not that quiet.
Ready for an unboxing? To the next page…
When it comes to spirits, i am usually in one of two mindsets - either i know what i like, or i’m excited to try something new. If i’m perusing the shelves, or picking from bottles up on the bar… i’m definitely prone to impulsively trying something based on the packaging. It should be no surprise that this doesn’t always go so well (though at times it can be fantastic!) So, with the help of Distiller, i’ve compiled a selection of some of their best rated spirits where the packaging caught my eye! If you’re like me, the next time you’re impulse picking - these should at least taste as good as they look (if not better!) With the Distiller App, you can not only read reviews from experts, but also weigh in with your thoughts as well. You can rate bottles (out of five stars) to help the community, and you can also see the Distiller Scores (out of 100) next to their color coded droplets.
Check out the list on the next page…unfortunately, i haven’t been able to taste them all, so i’m picking based on packaging and trusting Distiller’s team that they are truly delicious! (… and i’ll see what i can do to work my way through them when the opportunity arises!)
Current inspiration over at NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more…
We live in some pretty surprising times right now. Even those who claim to have seen it all coming, must be at least a little surprised how things keep playing out. (Here in the US as well as around the globe…) And to find a silver lining, maybe it’s a good thing that events have been polarizing enough to light a fire in people who hadn’t stepped up before… helping people figure out what’s worth fighting for and protecting… helping sort out priorities… and figuring out where, how, and when to get involved in new ways. I’d be lying to say that current events haven’t been taking over more of my brain power that in the past may have focused on design obsessions and explorations… but sometimes you just need time to take deep dives researching and processing as much information as your brain can hold in hopes of coming up with a new plan - a passionate, considered next move to make.
And then yesterday i went to the supermarket to pick up the sunday paper because i wanted a copy of their ad. This New York Times ad by Droga5! About TRUTH. Sure it’s a bit sad that it even needs to be said, but its a fantastic reminder in good times as well as bad! So take a peek at it on the next page…
So much inspiration lately - both what we’re sharing online and what we’re working on (that’s not quite ready to share - yet!) Here’s a peek at what’s been happening over at NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more.
How amazing are the bottles from Mucha Liga Tequila?!?!?! First thing it reminded me of is the Crystal Head Vodka bottle we reviewed back in 2008! But it’s a fun, faceted, luchador take on it! I was doing some research, and while on Distiller (one of our awesome NOTCOT Sponsors!) i found this review of Mucha Liga and had to find out more.
Turns out Mucha Liga Tequila, has fantastic branding in addition to their fun bottles! There are stories behind each character/flavor… and there are even mini sets of their great faceted head bottles. Check it all out on the next page.
I love a good road trip. Always have… ever since my first car and all those LA to San Diego trips and back during college… which quickly expanded to drives up and down the majority of California on a whim. And over the last 20 years, I have so many favorite stops all over the world that were found by getting lost and wandering!
While automotive design/technology is fun and inspiring, my love of driving always trumped all looks and stats. There’s something about being able to just DRIVE… not necessarily certain where you’re going, or when you’ll get there, or what you’l lfind along the way. The option to take a random road, exit, or turn on a whim, or follow signs to possibilities, or now with navigation/google maps in your pocket - spot something interesting and just aim for it! What happens in a world of autonomous cars? Will the adventure of a road trip still be possible? Will there be a “surprise me” mode?
But i digress - when i saw Frizzi Frizzi’s post on CURVES - a magazine dedicated to “soulful driving”, filled with maps, stops, and luscious pictures of not only driver’s views of roads, but also aerial views of beautiful curve filled roads… i had to know more! So i picked up the California and Sicily (two of my favorite epic road trip spots!) issues of CURVES Magazine to see how they are in person… and they are stunningly inspiring. For the roads you’ve driven, it’s like a time capsule filled with driving memories… for roads yet to be experienced, it’s like a guidebook! And for armchair travelers who like the views but not that much time in the car - it’s a peek into a stunning adventure.
Take a peek inside CURVES Magazine’s California and Sicily Issues on the next page!
It’s no secret i’ve been fascinated researching the current state of the Cannabis Packaging/Branding world lately (as is apparent from this ever-growing post from January!) It’s so fun to watch a whole new category work towards legalization… it opens up so much potential from a design/user experience side!
One of the most unique brands/products I found was definitely hmbldt - from concept to product design, packaging to scientific approach… even down to the experience of what a dose is, and how to help new users understand (and trust) a more consistent result and quality as they figure out what cannabis combinations work for them. While their first products are discreet disposable vaporizer pens, it sounds like they are working on a metered-dose oral spray as well as a rechargeable pen specifically for hmbldt formulas. Their initial offerings include 4 hmbldt formulas for Bliss, Sleep, Calm, and Relief - and just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’ve also added Arouse and Passion. For more on the scientific and future sides of hmldt - our friends at Cool Hunting have an interview with hmbldt’s Chief Scientist Samantha Miller that is a fascinating read.
So between all the pictures and information online, we got too curious, and had to play with it in person… and the packaging, the product, and the experience is impressive. Take a look at the details up close on the next page.
February! Already! What a year… amongst all the chaos these days, here’s a peek at what’s keeping us happily inspired. Click the squares to figure out more.
Just back from a quick trip up the coast to meet friends and try out the new Villas & Suites at Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley! Between the various (much needed) rain storms, we got a lovely sunny weekend to drive up California, explore Carmel/Big Sur, and most importantly, relax, catch up, and indulge in delicious wine, spa pampering, and silly leisurely activities like bocce and croquet! Also - between the 3 fire places in each suite and fire pits to curl up by throughout the property, even the chilliest nights were cozy. Tucked into Carmel Valley between vineyards and golf courses, you’re about 20 minutes into the adorable Carmel By The Sea. I’ve been torn trying to decide what to share with you, but overall, there were so many lovely details (the bathroom! the fireplaces! the views! the stars!) - here’s a look at my favorite parts. As for whether i’d recommend the Bernardus Lodge & Spa - i’m not sure, we did have a bunch of strange moments that stuck in my head, but fill you in on a few of those later. For now - take in the sights on the next page!
It all started with Shawn telling me about how we “could” drop Chevrolet LT1 E-ROD crate engine into our ‘96 Land Cruiser for our next step in our NOTFZJ80 Project… of course my first question was, “What does it feel like?” which prompted him to tell me it’s in the Corvette Grand Sport! So, when Chevy offered one to us for a week, it was the perfect way to kick off 2017 and try the LT1!
First impressions of the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport? So fun to drive, and it turns (surprising) heads everywhere you go. There’s something about styling (much like the original stingrays) that just makes people stare, grin, and wave… from little boys to old ladies, to everything in between. It was hard to stop in anywhere and NOT get asked about it. For lack of a better phrase, it definitely had a more all-American-all-ages vibe from the crowd it drew, compared to some higher end luxury sports cars. Even non car folks were excited by it. But to be honest, it is SO fun to drive, that the only time you notice all the grins and stares are while being a passenger. That sport mode on S curves is fantastic. And the touring mode was surprisingly comfortable for such a low car with a stiff suspension! While we can’t give you a ride, we can show you all the details that we love… so take a peek on the next page!
Roundup of awesomeness from NOTCOT.org! Click squares to find out more…
We’ve been finding so many interesting Cannabis products with great packaging/branding lately! So instead of hunting for them each time, or flooding NOTCOT.org with the links… here’s one big post of them!
It’s no surprise that the cannabis market is booming and growing at record speeds, and will likely continue to do so. After many recurring conversations about the design emerging around the cannabis space - i finally started rounding up some of the more intriguing packaging/branding design of cannabis products. This doesn’t even begin to look at the branding of dispensaries, architecture/interior design of dispensaries, or paraphernalia. And while cannabis product packaging is much like packaging for water, alcohol, anything you can add sugar to, etc. - when looking for inspiration to design packaging and branding for a cannabis brand, you can really find inspiration from ANYTHING. The products have enough range that you could probably have an equivalent cannabis product for nearly anything in a supermarket or drugstore. But, that being said, i was still curious what’s new in the cannabis specific space with regards to eye catching packaging… so here’s my current (and probably growing) list! Let me know if you find others i should check out!