Threadless & Absolut Vodka: Can I Get Your Vote?

As a Chicago fan, I couldn’t resist submitting a design for the Threadless/ABSOLUT Vodka Design Competition. The challenge was to create artwork for a limited edition bottle that “distills what you love most about the City of Big Shoulders into a fresh, inventive design that will give Chicagoans a reason to raise their glasses.” So I had to do a little research. I know what I love about Chicago, the summers, the city just comes to life, but I had to find out what is the ABSOLUT style. I looked up previous bottle designs and discovered that their style to me has a sketchy free flowing feel, nothing too technical/intricate.

So I started sketching. This is actually my second one where I was still working things out. I started to draw another more cleaned up version, but I just loved the energy and composition of this one that I decided to take this into Illustrator instead.
absolut_chicago_sketch 001

Here’s the result. I wanted something bright and full of energy and movement. My design is currently up for voting. If you like it please take the time to score it and check out the other designs too. There’s some good stuff.
absolut_design_spinder absolut_chicago_shirt_spinder absolut_chicago_bottles_spinder

P.S This is my favorite ABSOLUT Limited Edition Bottle Design: London by artist Jamie Hewlett.


Deceptive Design: Experiments in Furniture

Deceptive Design_LogoLast year around this time, I was swayed by a poster to go to the Chicago Cultural Center. It was fall break, I had never been there before, and it was free. What did I have to lose? Turns out, I loved every minute of my visit. From the Tiffany glass dome to the Halloween decorations, to the exhibits, everything was compelling (I really mean everything, I spent hours there).

The display I remember the most was called Deceptive Design [Oct. 10th, 2008 – Jan. 4th, 2009]. It featured novel furnishings whose purpose was to alter our standard perceptions of furniture around us. There was something “deceptive” about each piece whether it was in the mechanics, materials, or visual presentation. I will introduce three of my favorites.

Riveli by Mark Kinsley

Definitely a piece I would have on my wall is Riveli, a shelving component designed by Mark Kinsley. I find it clever, practical, and versatile. Combining artwork with shelving, Riveli adapts to the user’s needs. Parts flip down to hold your possessions and the sections that are not needed remain up to display custom art. I wonder if the artwork is put on panels that can be changed as well? Either way it’s brilliant. Mark Kinsley is an industrial designer living in Chicago that works not only with furniture, but with lighting as well.

Coil Lamp

What drew me to this next piece was the beguiling construction and the simplicity of the materials. It is made from a really long extension cord, Plexiglas, and a light bulb. Coil Lamp ComponentsSimple? Yes. Boorish? Not even close. The Coil Lamp designed by Craighton Berman “elevates the status of the humble, everyday extension cord to the realm of high design.”

This lamp is actually now available for purchase. You can buy the limited edition Handmade Coil Lamp that comes fully assembled or you can get the Do-It-Yourself Kit in which you purchase the extension cord and the bulb.

As a matter of fact, that’s what I thought when I first saw it, “I can make this.” Of course that was when I had access to a laser cutter. Kudos to Craighton Berman for creating such an innovation. He is an industrial designer, professor, and creative director based in Chicago.

Deceptive GardenLast, but not least, is the Deceptive Garden by Chris Brandel. The goal is to make the most out of the small outdoor space that is the typical Chicago balcony. It stylishly provides the means for the user to grow various plants like flowers and herbs, and provides storage for supplies. It then can be converted into a handy work table or a mellow dining area for two. Perfect for the city dweller with a green thumb.

As for the creator, Chris Brandel is a product developer and designer and is currently the president at the Chicago Furniture Designers Association.

What do you think? Check out the other designs and tell me which ones you like.

Thrillist, Local Brands, & Discounts

thrillisticonEvery so often, there’s an ad on facebook worth clicking. Thrillist is a free daily newsletter that gives you the scoop on local deals, artists, events, and restaurants with a twist of humor. According to them, they are not going to hit you with things that “suck.” I’ve been receiving their emails for months now and they’ve lived up to their word. So far they have editions in eleven cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and Miami. I love it when they cover local artists and brands.

tshirt1Most recent is The Fineprint, a Chicago based apparel company that specializes in graphic tees for men and women. They also offer artwork from local artists and additional accessories such as tote bags and scarves with printed work.

inkorporatedInKorporated Skin “keeps the art on the skin, but off the body.” Designed by tattoo artists, Inkorporated sells wallets, buckles, bags and more, that distinctly look tattooed. It’s perfect for those who admire the trade, whether or not you have ink of your own.


Created by two friends who thought they could do it better, emerges Siren Graphix. With graphic design and photography backgrounds, they erupted with shirts, dresses, bags, and hoodies splayed with skulls, ancient symbols, and provocative female figures.

Jack ThreadsInterested in bigger brands? JackThreads is an “invite only” shopping site that offers major discounts on apparel by well known street/skate labels. It’s not that difficult to become a part of the community. Just fill in about six fields of information and you’re in! Prime example, right now they are running a Warehouse sale where you can get that Obey Oil Freedom Hoodie to your left for $29.99 which retails normally for $75.00. Live long and shop.

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