Samwise Admires Illustrious Ancestor

Samwise Admires One of His Illustrious Ancestors

Who knew Samwise had such illustrious ancestors? Apparently he did… Sitting under the watchful gaze of a museum security guard, Sam admires a painting of (supposedly) one of his ancestors in a prominent art museum. Look at that frame! (wonder what this ancestor did..? looks like a pirate symbol on his chapeau to me 🙂




Infographics and Analytics

Analytics seem to be in use for every area of life these days. Chances are your business is making use of data analysis everyday, but how do you communicate to your customers what matters about the data?

Maybe we’re biased, but we’ve observed that images, especially infographics that relate to your company’s business, is a great way to explain “what it all means” once you have the data. Visual information makes it easier for your viewers to grasp the analysis of your data in a way that is meaningful to them.

We recently had the chance to develop an infographic for Veros — a real estate analytics firm. The big story was that the top markets were all west of the Mississippi and the bottom markets seemed to be east. The client wanted quite a bit of data about specific markets, so our challenge was to organize that in a manner that still allowed a viewer to get the big picture at a glance.

Tips for creating infographics:

  • Pie charts are best to compare percentages to the whole, and for categories that are less than 5% of the total, it may be best to group as “Other”.
  • Line charts can effectively show fluctuations over time
  • Yes, you can combine more than one type of chart in an infographic; the rule is to keep thing visually simple so the most important facts can be understood in a glance.

Here’s the infographic:

2014 Q3 VeroFORECAST Infographic


drum art for band

Drum Art for Plastic Zombies

Much of my work is for businesses, and therefore ‘clean and corporate’ — but that just wouldn’t have fit the bill for this punk-influenced band local to Southern California. While the overall artwork did need to go with the turquoise finish of one of the band’s drums, there were no other rules: befitting the punk influence at the heart of their music, band members were fine with either amusing or offending potential audiences.

Check back soon: when I have a link to their schedule, I’ll be happy to post it!


Happy Holiday!

My favorite canine hits the road, and more…apparently.

This illustration was done in Illustrator, with the canine photo masked in Photoshop and then dropped into the composition.

Typeface for whimsical title was FontDiner’s Loungy. They’re a type foundry that specializes in retro fonts. (Loungy is listed under Free Silverware)

Every Picture Tells A Story

Every picture tells a story; I just don’t know what the story behind this one happens to be.

Could it be that the owner of these boots was loading items in a car, then heard his phone ring inside the vehicle, took the call, and forgot to finish loading the last item? . . . or maybe it’s something more interesting.

You’re invited to create a back story to these photos! Add a comment or send a tweet to @1184design.


Window Seat — Illustration for children’s book

Illo Competition

Did you know about 3×3 magazine? If not, it’s a go-to place for finding illustration resources online. You’ll find eye-catching illustrations there, with a broad variety of styles for any type of project requirement!

Each year, 3×3 publishes Illo, a collection of the best illustration for print. The book features a variety of categories of illustration — from advertising, to editorial, children’s, and conceptual.

Read more Illo Competition

The Long View

  • Scanning the Horizon

    Looking out at the “lay of the land” to see what is nearby and out on the horizon.

    Scanning the Horizon
  • Focused on You

    Turning the focus on you, to see how you can take advantage of the surrounding opportunities.

    Focus on You

One of the things I enjoy about the great outdoors is how frequently it reminds me of good practices for business and relationships in general. I’m sharing these snapshots taken while out on a hike in a coastal preserve yesterday afternoon for that reason: while I observed, this osprey repeatedly looked out, and then turned his/her focus on me — in this case, I was nearby with a camera and the osprey wanted to keep an eye on me to make sure I wasn’t a threat.

Since ospreys fish for their dinner, the osprey must look carefully to see below the surface; I suppose they’re scanning for anything that disturbs the surface of the water.  But they must distinguish between surface ripple caused by a passing breeze and surface disruption caused by some fish (there’s my dinner!) swimming near the surface.

There are obvious parallels between the osprey’s behavior and essential practice for a business. First, the organization’s leadership must regularly scan the horizon to see what’s coming that will affect their operations, while also keeping an eye on what the competitors are doing, and what might become a threat to their continued success. Second, there’s a need to determine whether a situation or event primarily presents an opportunity or is a threat; frequently an event, situation, or trend possesses both qualities.

In my practice as a designer, I work with each client to understand the specific “surroundings” of their business so I can identify both opportunities and threats. Every business has its share of each, but the response helps shape any situation into an opportunity.

Got comments or questions? Click the button and get in touch!


koi fish in a informal garden

Fun with Paint

It’s not all work around here — I paint whenever there’s opportunity to do so. Here’s one recently completed painting. The inspiration was from photos I took in one of the many gardens at Huntington Library. If you’re ever in San Marino, California, this should be on your tour; the main building features the permanent art collection, the best known of which is The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough. I always wondered what the big deal was about this particular painting until I saw it “in person.” The brush strokes on the blue satin attire are amazing; this never seems to show in photographs I’ve seen of the work in question.