To celebrate this fun day, we have created a design-themed crossword puzzle for you to solve at home!
All you have to do is download the PDF from the link below.
This year, we wanted to do something a little different with our holiday card. We hoped to relive the joyous feeling we’ve all felt when making holiday crafts.
For some of us, being creative at the holidays with our family is an anticipated tradition. For others, it is something we haven’t yet experienced. So let’s put down our cell phones and tablets, and turn off the TV. Let’s play some holiday tunes and get in the holiday spirit! Block out the stress in your life and relax – bake some cookies, drink some hot chocolate, be a kid again, and get ready to have fun creating your own unique paper snowflakes!
We provided the instructions and some handy templates to test your skill, but it is up to you execute! All you need is a 4.75” square piece of paper and some scissors to get started. (You can use any size square paper but 4.75” is recommended.) Follow the step-by-step instructions below and be sure to share your creation on Facebook and Twitter!
You’re doing great, you’re almost there!
These next two steps are tricky so we’re going to share some pointers. If you are using a 4.75” square piece of paper, you can take advantage of the measurement that we included in step three. We recommend marking 1.75” in from corner C and fold corner B to that mark. The corner will hang off of the bottom of the triangle. If you are using a different sized piece of paper, just be sure that after you fold corner C back over, the edges in step four are flush to one another. The next step is the best – have fun cutting away and releasing a beautiful design!
Congratulations on creating your cool snowflake!
If your snowflake does not look exactly like the one above don’t worry. All snowflakes are unique and there are no two alike. As an additional treat, below is a PDF that you can download containing six additional designs that will put your skills to the test.
Good luck, and Happy Holidays
from FineLine Graphics and Design!
NFL Super Bowl 50 Logo. 16 April 2014.
In 2016 Super Bowl 50 will be played right here in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium. This will be the 12th time the Super Bowl will be played in California. The first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship, later known as Super Bowl I, was played on January 15, 1967 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. In that game the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
On June 4, 2014, the National Football League unveiled the new logo for Super Bowl 50, which will be held on February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium. The new logo design is very unique in that for the first time in 45 years of the Super Bowl, Roman numerals in both the logo and game titling will not be used. Instead, it will officially be known as “Super Bowl 50” and not “Super Bowl L.” This convention will only be used in 2016. In 2017 the Roman numerals will return for “Super Bowl LI.”
Roman numerals were not used in the first 4 Super Bowl logo designs. They were first used in Super Bowl V, a game in which the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys in January 1971.
The 2016 logo departs slightly from the new logo template established in 2011 for Super Bowl XLV. The Vince Lombardi trophy is still the focal point of the mark along with the “Super Bowl” font at the base of the mark. However, the “50” is now in gold instead of the traditional silver located behind the trophy instead of below. Fifty is traditionally known as the “golden anniversary.” Couple that with the fact this Super Bowl will be played in the “Golden State” and a “gold 50” is a natural.
The alternate logo design includes a graphic image of Levi’s Stadium around the base of the Lombardi trophy along with silhouettes of the San Francisco skyline, ghosted by the fog, reflected in the gold 50 as a backdrop to the trophy. The San Francisco Bay Area and game date appear below the mark as well.
This new branding builds on a permanent Super Bowl identity established in 2011 for Super Bowl XLV that positions the Lombardi trophy with the host city stadium. Previous Super Bowl logos were unique designs that changed from year to year.
When Super Bowl 50 hits the Bay Area, it not only brings a new look but great business opportunities to local businesses as well. And through non-profit organizations like Business Connect, the Bay Area’s diverse small businesses will be linked to contracting opportunities related to the golden anniversary of the most watched sporting event in the USA.
With more than 34+ years of event and graphic design, as well as print experience, FineLine offers invaluable insight that has also included several years working with the NFL Alumni Association. One of our clients, a corporate sponsor of the NFL Alumni Association, looked to us to create graphics for several corporate sponsored NFL Alumni and Super Bowl related events. Through that relationship FineLine has developed the expertise required to know how to blend NFL branding with a unique corporate brand in a series of events taking place during Super Bowl week over the course of multiple years.
In 2015 FineLine is hoping to have the opportunity to be one of the select group of Bay Area diverse small businesses to work on Super Bowl 2016. We’ll keep you posted on our progress as we proceed through the approval process with Business Connect in 2015.
The Expand M2 is FineLine’s go-to retractable banner stand.
It embodies convenience, quality, and beautiful design.
The M2 is made of sturdy materials and features trusted Swedish quality and design that is elegant in any environment. The stand features a telescopic pole, allowing the user to adjust the height of the banner up to 225 cm (88.5 inches)!
The most popular design feature of the Expand M2 is the Unique Modular Tension System. The graphic has tension when it is fully raised; however, when the banner is retracted in the display, there is no tension on the graphic. This clever system enables the cartridge to be easily removed and replaced.
Imagine having multiple pre-printed graphics that vary in content as well as design. Then take your imagination a little further and envision being able to interchange those graphics in just a couple of minutes with absolutely no tools or heavy lifting. Have it in your mind yet? YES! You are thinking of the M2 and its ultimate function!
Traditional retractable banner stands cannot have their graphics changed without being sent off to a vendor for replacement. The M2’s ability to have graphics interchanged quickly, easily, and by your own hand is the main reason why this is FineLine’s go-to retractable banner.
An example of the M2s convenience can easily be seen in a tradeshow environment. A company’s booth is limited to the amount of space allotted to them, thereby limiting the space for content. With our help, our clients have found that using these M2 banners has made their shows go smoother because they have less to carry around and store. With one M2 you can have multiple cartridges with different messaging and rotate them during the tradeshow. This same idea can work for breakout sessions and multiple topics. It can even work with internal marketing within a company to promote different events!
Learn how FineLine can help your next show or event be a huge success!
Visit us at www.finelinegd.com or call 408-261-7676
A few weeks ago I was searching for a way to easily generate patterns in Illustrator. There are many free resources available to download pattern swatches, and Illustrator does offer pretty awesome tools to create your own patterns as well. However, I did not want a pattern made by someone else. And even though Illustrator is amazing, I wanted to be able to generate a pattern in little to no time.
With my quest parameters set, I hopped on my computer and began my arduous search. I must confess that my search was relatively short, and not arduous in the least. Yes, I did have to visit a few websites and rummage about, but it was not long before I came across a site that had exactly what I was looking for.
The URL of this illustrious site is www.madpattern.com. As it turns out MadPattern is a collection of Adobe Illustrator templates that allows you to rapidly prototype patterns. Aside from the instantaneous gratification, MadPattern templates are all free to download.
MadPattern features include:
The ease with which you can create patterns is mind blowing. You might say… “it will drive you mad!” I would recommend watching the tutorials before you get your feet wet, but after that dive in and create.
Here are few of my own creations.
If you are on the hunt for easily generated, customizable patterns for Illustrator then give MadPattern a try. And if you do decided to MadPattern it up, post your patterns on Twitter and hashtag them, #FineLineGD.
About two weeks ago I set out to determine what makes a good infographic versus a bad infographic. After reading numerous articles and blog posts on the subject, I gained an overall view of what other individuals thought.
Of course, I already had a view of my own. The prevalence of infographics has certainly grown over the years. I remember when a web search yielded only a few examples – along with simple bar, pie, and growth charts. Now a web search yields a ridiculous amount of examples of all different makes and models.
There are even infographics of infographics, which seems a bit over the top.
I do find infographics useful and visually stimulating. As a designer, taking information and turning it into a visual representation of data, information or knowledge is right up my alley. However, many of the infographics I have come across tend to make my eyes hurt from the amount of data crammed on to a page. In other instances, the infographics are full of random, meaningless facts in no apparent logical order.
As I waded through articles and blog posts alike, one theme in particular kept popping up in one form or another. The summation of the theme was this:
Successful infographics should contain great, interesting, and useful content that sets out to comprehend or solve a problem for time-poor audiences.
My interpretation of this theme is that the infographic must present data in a visual way that is easy to comprehend at a glance. However, as I stated before, most don’t! They are generally complicated. Nine times out of ten, I must carefully read the text accompanying the visuals to ascertain what the infographic is really about. Having to routinely do this leads me to conclude that infographics do anything but save time.
I don’t have an issue with sitting in front of an infographic and discovering the overarching message and the relationship of the presented data. I have always viewed infographics as conversation pieces in which people can debate, counter, or agree on the content.
Two names that seem to be synonymous with infographics or data visualization are Stephen Few and David McCandless. Before I began researching these two individuals I prematurely assumed that they would have similar views and somewhat like minds. All I can say is that I could not have been more wrong. The differences between these two are like oil and water. They just don’t mix.
David McCandless, author of “Information is Beautiful,” is a London-based author, data-journalist and information designer. He is considered the current trendsetter for visually striking infographics. He has been hailed by many as being on the cutting edge of visualizing ideas, issues, knowledge, and data. His mission statement from his blog www.informationisbeautiful.net states:
“Myself, and the rest of the crack team here at Information is Beautiful, are dedicated to distilling the world’s data, information and knowledge into beautiful, interesting and, above all, useful visualizations, infographics and diagrams.”
Here are some samples of David’s work.
“20th Century Death: selected major causes,” by David McCandless. 2013. – Source: Information is Beautiful. 21 May 2014.
“Influ-Venn-Za: Who can catch which flue?” by David McCandless. 2013. – Source: Information is Beautiful. 21 May 2014.
“Timeline of the Far Future,” by iibstudio. 2014. – Source: BBC Future. 21 May 2014.
There is no denying it, the inforgraphics created by David and his team are definitely beautiful and interesting. Hands down, my eyes definitely navigate to the bright colors and organic shapes found in all of his infographics. However, they look more like abstract art that draws you in, but in the end leaves you confused about what you are looking at.
On the other side of the tracks we have Stephen Few. He is a 25 year IT innovator, consultant, and educator who has his own consultancy, Perceptual Edge. He tackles data visualization for analyzing and communicating quantitative business information. He provides consulting and training services, writes a monthly data visualization newsletter, speaks frequently at conferences, and teaches in the MBA program at the University of California at Berkeley.
Stephen Few’s approach to data visualization is more spartan when it comes to added graphical items. He focuses all of his attention on the data and how to make it the most accessible and understandable to the viewer. Stephen’s reasoning for how he approaches a data visualization problem stems from how humans perceive information.
In chapter 35 of Stephen’s book “Data Visualization for Human Perception” he states:
“Data visualization is only successful to the degree that it encodes information in a manner that our eyes can discern and our brains can understand. Getting this right is much more a science than an art, which we can only achieve by studying human perception. The goal is to translate abstract information into visual representations that can be easily, efficiently, accurately, and meaningfully decoded.”*
Here are some samples of Stephen’s work.
“The UK Budget Deficit Compared to Other Big Amounts of Money,” by Stephen Few. 2004-2014. – Source: Perceptual Edge. 21 May 2014.
“Employee Responses Regarding Company Goals,” by Stephen Few. 2004-2014. – Source: Perceptual Edge. 21 May 2014.
“Global Causes of Lost Life,” by Stephen Few. 2004-2014. – Source: Perceptual Edge. 21 May 2014.
There are other prominent infographic/data visualization designers in the world, but I wanted to focus on David McCandles and Stephen Few because they are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
Stephen Few has literally written volumes on the subject of data visualization and the more I read the more I am convinced his line of thinking is the way to go. As a designer, though, I find his charts and diagrams lack that hook to draw people in or to catch their eye, which David McCandless has achieved in his work. In an ideal world we could perfectly marry Stephen’s scientific/analytical approach and David’s graphical approach to data visualization. Then we would have the best of both worlds.
So what makes a good infographic?
Is it David McCandless’ view of “distilling the world’s data, information and knowledge into beautiful, interesting and, above all, useful visualizations, infographics and diagrams.”
Is it Stephen Few’s view, “translate abstract information into visual representations that can be easily, efficiently, accurately, and meaningfully decoded.”
Perhaps it is a little of both.
A successful infographic contains useful information that can be translated into visual representations. These representations must tell the story, revealing and highlighting connections. The viewer should be able to easily, efficiently, accurately, and meaningfully decode the information.
* Few, Stephen (2013): Data Visualization for Human Perception. In: Soegaard, Mads and Dam, Rikke Friis (eds.). “The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed.”. Aarhus, Denmark: The Interaction Design Foundation. Available online at http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/data_visualization_for_human_perception.html
Not too long ago we had an incident within the fair walls of FineLine Graphics & Design. To be honest, it was nothing of import, but it did cause a bit of a stir in the office. Kate Humphrey, one of our Senior Project Managers, had a granola bar taken from her office. It was not the usual granola bar in an airtight wrapper. No, this was a granola square that was homemade with love and care. One wild theory after another was drafted by each of us, but how the granola square disappeared was simply a mystery.
Like everyone else, I tried to shed some light on the situation and in doing so I wrote an email to all detailing the marvelous and terrible story of the granola square’s demise.
It has come to my attention that there is a family of Borrowers living within the walls of our fair building. The family consists of a mother (Marta), father (Paul), son (Jimmy) and daughter (Greta). I do believe they have a pet of some kind and I am inclined to say it is a lime green caterpillar. Due to the caterpillar’s plump size the family decided to name him Lump.
Over the past few years of working at FineLine I have been able to approach and befriend this family of Borrowers. We came up with a very small treaty, which was signed by all with very small signatures. The treaty stated that we, the FineLine residents, will dutifully try not to stamp, squash, or sit on any Borrower located with the FineLine walls. In addition, we would also alert the Borrowers to any appointments set with exterminators so they might adjourn to the trees surrounding the building while the bugs or pests were eradicated. In turn, the Borrowers agreed not to steal any property of ours. They may borrow things from time-to-time, but they would return whatever it was in a timely fashion.
Now to the heart of the matter. On April 9, 2014 at approximately 2:54 pm a delicious granola square was stolen, pilfered, pinched, filched from the corner of Kate’s shelf. She noticed it was missing the next morning, April 10, 2014, as she sat down at her desk, preparing to enjoy her morning coffee and anticipating the enjoyment with which she would savor the sweet taste of the granola square she had saved. Imagine her disdain as she found her coveted breakfast snack had gone missing. She sent out an email lamenting the loss of such a scrumptious cube of granola delight, demanding to know who the vile thief was. To her dismay and bewilderment, all FineLine employees, myself included, vehemently denied the accusation that we had gobbled up the tasty morsel.
To be honest, this stymied me as well. So immediately I took it upon myself to investigate this horrible crime of passion and hunger. I searched the office high and low and then set about searching it low and high. I used a magnifying glass, binoculars, telescope, electron microscope, and then lastly I looked through an empty glass coke bottle at every minute detail. However, my efforts were to no avail. My degree in Gumshoery, that I received in the fourth grade, had not aided me at all.
Just when I was about to give up my search and put this particular case into cold storage, my eye alighted on a series of caterpillar tracks, barely visible, on the wall right outside of Kate’s office. Using a mixture of plaster and water I made liquid plaster, which I poured into each caterpillar track. Once the plaster was dried I removed each mold. Using the molds I recreated a 3D rendering of the caterpillar’s feet.
As I was viewing the 3D rendering, a light went off above my head as Pam turned on the light in my office. Then I had an amazing breakthrough. The Borrowers had a lime green caterpillar named Lump. And he was predisposed to indulging too often in delectable foods. Without hesitation, I banged on the walls until Paul, the father of the Borrower family, emerged. I presented him with my findings and told him about the conclusions I had drawn based on the efforts of my intellect. In the end he confessed, that his lime green caterpillar, Lump, had shamefully eaten the granola square.
There you have it everyone. The culprit is none other than Lump. No charges have been brought up against the plump lime green guy. The embarrassment could be plainly seen on his tiny little face. He looked so sad and pathetic that I decided his thievery should not come to light. Instead, with the aid of Freddie (one of my conspiratorial co-workers), we spun a riveting story about how Dillon, a young golden retriever whose family (Steve & Patty) works here, had bound into Kate’s office and vacuumed up the granola square.
To both our delight, the story was received well by everyone and Lump lived on to become a beautiful butterfly that was later eaten by a bird.
I admit there may be some holes in my theory, but I stand by it. At the very least, I concocted a captivating story that may provide a laugh or a guffaw for the reader.
If there is something to take away, it is that we at FineLine are a group of creative individuals. And our creativity extends far beyond design!
Left: Sketch by Oscar Reutersvärd, Opus 1 (1934) – Source: Impossible World. 1 May 2014.
Middle: Poster for the Hommange a Oscar Reutersvärd, by the Galerie Bell’Art, Stockholm (2001) – Source: Galerie Bell’Art, Stockholm. 1 May 2014.
Right: Sketch by Oscar Reutersvärd, Opus 2B (1934) – Source: Impossible World. 1 May 2014.
For as long as I can remember, “impossible figures” have been one of my passions. I was first introduced to the world of the impossible figure by works of M.C. Escher. Due to his widespread prominence, other impossible artists have, unfortunately, been eclipsed by his immense shadow.
While searching for more obscure artists, I was pleased to discover Oscar Reutersvärd – a Swedish artist who became widely known as the “father of impossible figures.” He pioneered the art of 3D drawings which may initially appear feasible, yet cannot be physically constructed. His first impossible figure was the “impossible triangle,” which he created out of a series of cubes in 1934. The triangle at first seems like a simple geometrical shape. However, as the eye tries to follow its outlines, the triangle abruptly becomes a dizzying experience – as its bottom link plays havoc with the brain’s intuitive knowledge of physical laws. Since that initial creation he went on to develop more than 2,500 impossible figures.
It was with great surprise and satisfaction that I stumbled upon Oscar’s “Window in the Floor” series. An attempt to describe this series will seriously not do it justice. A picture is worth a thousand words – so, below are some of Oscar’s drawings from the series.
Gallery of “Window on the Floor” series, by Oscar Reutersvärd. 2001-2013. – Source: Impossible World. 1 May 2014.
These drawings are just amazing to me. They are so amazing, in fact, that they have rekindled my own interest in drawing impossible figures. I find it fascinating that a series of simple lines drawn on a piece of paper can yield such amazing results.
Here are a few sketches of my own inspired by Oscar’s “Window in the Floor” series.
If you wish to see more of Oscar Reutervärd’s work, visit Impossible World. In addition to Oscar’s work there are works of other impossible artists to be enjoyed.
Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, USA, by Michael Muraz. 2013. Another Angle, Michael Muraz Photography, The Natural World.
I still remember those lazy days of summer when I was a kid. With nothing better to do, I’d lay on my back in the cool grass in front of my house just staring up into the sky. As I watched the clouds roll by I imagined I saw bears, faces of famous people, or the flowing profiles of birds in flight. There were never two of the same images, and that made it a fresh, new experience every time. I’d lay there in the grass, eagerly anticipating what I might see.
Pareidolia is the psychological term for this little blip in our brains that causes us to see faces, figures, forms or patterns in things. Ancient astronomers got it. They saw animal and human shapes in the many constellations brightening the night sky.
Leonardo Da Vinci even suggested in his notebooks that pareidolia was an excellent source of inspiration for painters. He expanded this concept to include imagery seen in city structures. Here’s what he suggested, “If you look at walls that have various stains or spots you will be able to ‘see’ or invent a scene that resembles different landscapes such as mountains or rocks, valleys or trees. Expressions on faces will emerge, and outlandish clothes and costumes will be able to reduce into separate and conceived forms.”
I’ve enjoyed viewing a painting in which the morphing cloud formations over Cloud’s Rest in Yosemite come to life in the form of stampeding steers in the dreamy skies above a solitary cowboy. An untold number of photographers have captured the slowly evolving shadow shapes and distinctive rock formations of the mountains at sunset in the Valley of Fire – which become imagined forms of seven sisters and a huge elephant.
As an illustrator and designer, this ability to “see” things in nature that go well beyond the obvious, is a continual source of creative inspiration. The flowing lines and radiating ripples in a local mountain stream became my inspiration for a corporate brochure.
Although I don’t spend much time on my back gazing skyward anymore, I still see images, patterns and anthropomorphic shapes in nature. The point is, inspiration is everywhere and all we need to do is open our eyes. No telling what we’ll see.
At FineLine we have a time honored tradition of celebrating birthdays. How we celebrate is not all that dissimilar to how birthdays are generally celebrated. We take the birthday person to lunch at a place of their choosing, filling up on good conversation and food. Later in the day, a special treat (cake, cookies, ice cream, pie, cream puffs, tarts, etc.) is burdened with candles and placed in front of the birthday person as we ceremoniously sing “Happy Birthday to You.”
At our last birthday celebration we were pleasantly surprised to see that the special treat was popsicles. These were not your regular, store bought, popsicles. Our Production Artist, Rochi Ladcani, in tandem with our Project Manager, Freddie Allen, had conspired to create these exquisite frozen delights together.
As we eagerly waited to receive a popsicle, two questions permeated the atmosphere. “What is the flavor of the popsicle?” and “How did they come up with the marvelous idea?” Our intellectual appetites were satisfied with the knowledge that the flavor of the popsicle was vanilla on one side and strawberry on the other. The vanilla side was light green and made from vanilla, heavy cream, and cornstarch. The strawberry side was laboriously created using fresh strawberries, sugar, and water.
The resulting combination of textures and flavors provided by the two different sides brought to mind strawberry creamsicles, but these frozen creations were infinitely better. When we pressed our two dessert chefs to reveal their sources, they produced a book titled, Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art, by Caitlin Freeman.
Caitlin Freeman is a pastry chef at the Blue Bottle café at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For inspiration, she roams the museum’s many exhibits, then selects a work of art to translate into an edible masterpiece. Caitlin’s book details her foray into the world of desserts and pastries and how she came to be the Head Pastry Chef at the Blue Bottle Coffee Company at the SFMOMA. The lure of the book is the assortment of recipes; from Mondrian cake to Kudless S’Mores to Avedon Parfeit to the Cragg Ice Cream Cone.
The birthday popsicle that we at FineLine had been fortunate to consume was none other than the “Zurier Popsicle,” inspired by John Zurier’s painting, Arabella as seen below.
Left: Painting, Arabella, by John Zurier. 2005. The San Francisco Modern Museum of Art, California. 16 April 2014. Desserts at the SFMOMA, Blue Bottle Coffee Company
Right: Zurier Popsicle, by the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. 2013. The San Francisco Modern Museum of Art, California. 16 April 2014. Desserts at the SFMOMA, Blue Bottle Coffee Company
After we devoured out “Zurier Popsicles” it was unanimously decided that art inspired cakes, cookies, confections, and frozen treats are a brilliant idea.
If anyone wants to have their eyes and tastebuds dazzled, I encourage you to pick up Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art. It is a win-win situation showcasing iconic pieces of art and beautiful desserts that satisfy your sweet tooth.