Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tasted: Whole Foods Market Deli & Bar

We are always searching for a great salad bar and I think we've found it. Paying to eat by the pound rather than an all-you-can-eat buffet is a much better bargain for me and my small stomach capacity. The great fruit selection gets extra points since Atticus gets more excited over strawberries and pineapple than candy or sweet desserts. I thought they have a hot bar and cold bar with different prices but they are the same. We also grabbed a pear soda whose package design I liked a whole lot more than the fermented flavor. Atticus picked our plate this time but I’ll be back to try the chicken vindaloo or masala.

Whole Foods Market
5022 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38117
ph +1.901.685.2293
Open Monday to Saturday 8 am to 10 pm / Sunday 9 am to 9 pm
Special Events Meat Mondays and Fish Fridays 4pm to 6pm Free

Photos by Sophorn.

Inside the Design ~ Barn Raising Logo / Part 1 / Experimentation

Habitat for Hope has been kind enough to request a custom logo from me for their upcoming fundraising project centered around the concept of a barn raising, a community-building project. The logo will appear on t-shirts and other marketing material. I decided to use the blog once again to present my initial options for their and everyone's feedback.

The image I used to trace the barn form is the actual barn on the HfH property. Next to the photo are color samples of the barn next to possible t-shirt colors: white, gray, and black. There are basically 2 main roads of experimentation: a} 3-dimensional and perspective / b} front elevation. From there, I labeled each potential sub-option by number.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas: It's Christmas Day! Jesus' Birthday Party!

"Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Happy Birthday Baby Jesus! His party is on Christmas Day!"
~Atticus singing what he calls the new Christmas song.

The finale for this series inspired by Atticus' meaning of Christmas, is our own humble birthday party for Jesus. It was rather sweet that Atticus wanted to get a cake for the party too. He didn't eat the cupcake until later that night. Also, he has not asked for anything for Christmas. Maybe it's because he understands that it's Jesus' birthday and only the birthday boy gets the presents, okay, maybe not. There is plenty of time for that, so we are just enjoying it while it lasts. We hope you enjoy your Christmas too.

Merry Christmas, and of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

Just to throw in one more version of the very first Christmas concept which uses the background to create the life and color of the letters. This background is the light of our Christmas tree. It has potential as a gift tag that we can use every year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas: Photo Concept No. 4

Christopher and I both agree that the true joy in Christmas is going to see our family, since both sides live a half a day's drive away and we don't often see them. I believe that the most important part of Jesus' message of love for others is to be heralded during Christmas. The joy of love can only be felt through sharing it with others and for us much more with our family.

In this "coming home" series, Atticus really is greeting Christopher with his usual enthusiasm when he is coming back home from work. We are also traveling to see our family today where we feel like we are going home and just like in today's song, they are saying, "Just come on home." It's the best feeling in the world.

There were other pretty good shots just in Atticus' expressions that we also wanted to share below even though it gives away the floating secret. Safe travels to you as you head "home."

See further explanation of the series here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas: Photo Concept No. 3

We are aware that this concept can be interpreted as a commercial part of Christmas is acknowledging the true meaning of Christmas, and in that, trying to make some sort of statement or criticism. We are really in the whole series only trying to give a glimpse into our personal Christmas and how we are remembering the meaning of Christmas. Like we mentioned before, Atticus is fully aware of Santa Claus and is enraptured in this gift-giver as all of his friends are, but he also knows Jesus exists in this holiday just as much. This to us represents Atticus creating that balance for himself this Christmas.

See further explanation of the series here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas: Photo Concept No. 2

Our second idea for this year's Christmas card series is incorporating the nativity scene we have every year under our tree. We just have Baby Jesus, Joseph, and Mary so I asked Atticus to help gather more figures for the photo shoot. Where else will you see Kung Fu Panda in a manger scene?

I had a couple of angles I liked. The one below is nice because it looks as if the letters could have been added by computer after the photo, and also that you can see Kung Fu Panda's full action pose! We call him Jesus and Mary's bodyguard. Merry Christmas!

See yesterday's photo and further explanation of the series here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Motivational Mondays : Habitat for Hope

Habitat for Hope A Place Where Hope is Growing
More than just motivation, the ministry of Habitat for Hope is inspiration for me in seeing the extent of love and dedication a small group of people can share with other people without expecting absolutely nothing in return.

I was introduced to Habitat for Hope through one of the full-time volunteers Tucker, long after we worked together on previous architecture and planning projects. It was a wonder to catch up with him and hear him describe the work he was presently involved with. It was particularly amazing to hear him describe his position at Habitat for Hope as a missionary serving God right here in Memphis with his talents in design. I never mentioned this to him but when I wanted to give up on architecture school, I wanted to become a missionary in some third world country; but as I continued on to be a part of Rural Studio building homes for the poor in Alabama, I did begin to understand that you can be a missionary wherever you may be with the talents you can offer.

{Above from left: 1. Mark Horrocks with one of the HFH kids. 2. A neighbor takes the kids on a hayride. 3. A dad on one of the 4 wheelers provided for roaming the landscape.}

Tucker best described Habitat for Hope in describing the people they served. Imagine, suddenly finding out your child has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and you must transplant to a new city to receive treatment. Not knowing how much time the treatment may take, not knowing how much it will cost, not knowing how you can pay for it, and not knowing anyone in this city. All these unknowns causing more stress in a traumatic time were things the founders of Habitat for Hope were very familiar with and worked to provide a support system in relieving. In essence, they sought to become a second family to them.

{HFH staff, volunteers, and a few of the families they serve attending a Memphis Redbirds game.}

{Horseback riding is a kind of therapy for children with life threatening illness. The metal barn affectionately called “Romper Room” houses an indoor playground, basketball court, train table, foosball, bikes, scooters, and ride-on toys.}

{The Horrocks pictured above from left ~ Mark, Mylissa, Bella, Izaiah and Samuel}

HFH’s founders Mark and Mylissa Horrocks helped their daughter Bella battle cancer about 7 years ago and in winning their battle have made the mission they created in HFH their life’s work. Through the Barnhart family, the Horrocks have a secured a 48-acre property in Shelby Forest that provides free housing to displaced families. It is also a retreat for the parents and kids to find “fellowship and spiritual renewal, and just plain fun.”

{The main house where the Horrocks family resides while providing temporary housing on the top floor (short-term) and in the downstairs fully-furnished apartment (long-term). }

{Rendering of cabins by Phil Hamilton. End product of LRK leading HFH through a visioning process.}

What is most interesting and impressive to me about Habitat for Hope as a designer is the vision they have for establishing a true retreat for these families and their sick children. With the volunteer involvement of architects, planners, and designers, they hope to build a main “lodge” facility and a community of 8 three bedroom cabins using smart and thoughtful design. For instance, the new structures will seek LEED {Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design} certification and the site design will also involve a sustainable site initiative. The design will also involve thought in biophilia, which understands that nature incorporated in a living environment can be a healing environment, promoting physical and emotional health. With these upcoming projects, there is never enough help you can provide either by sharing this story or thinking of ways you can volunteer your time and talents. Read more about HFH here.

How You Can Help
~To donate online click here. To send a donation, see the mailing address below.
~To become a volunteer you can fill out the form here and email to Mylissa at

Habitat for Hope
2041 Locke Cuba Rd
Millington, TN 38053
Ph +1.866.443.HOPE
For more info, email Mark.

Photos and images courtesy of Habitat for Hope.

Special thanks to Tucker and Habitat for Hope. I am amazed with your work and look forward to seing how far it will go. Also, I am currently designing some marketing material and an event logo for them that I hope to post soon. Stay tuned.

The Meaning of Christmas: A Photography Series

Every Christmas, I really enjoy designing our Christmas cards and I always look to my son Atticus for inspiration. This year, he is fully aware of Santa Claus but also the fact that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. Our Christmas cards usually try to portray Atticus' key interests that year, so this year, it's how much he loves celebrating people's birthdays and his obsession with spelling and letters.

With my new die cut machine, I made several series of cut outs that say "Happy Birthday Jesus". It was really important that the words has a physical presence with Atticus or the other subjects we thought of. There were enough good ideas of where to photograph these letters that we decided to photograph a series that we will reveal each day this week until Christmas. I hope you enjoy this cover image and the Christmas song for today. If you are curious to see previous cards we've done, click here.

Graphics and photo above by Sophorn. Cardstock over red lucite, a graphic map, and Atticus' knit cap.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In the Works: 2010 Calendar ~ Formus Architects

As marketing mailers to our clients, we wanted to jump on the bandwagon of giving out a useful gift: a calendar, but marketing our graphic services also meant a custom designed calendar. The background is an image of a Formus project with the calendar playing off the perspective. We also are playing with 2 options of presentation: a flat card that can be posted on the wall or a 'pop-up' desk calendar to emphasize the 3-d nature of our business. Contact us if you want a calendar or need custom graphic design services.

Formus Architects
Architecture / Planning / Interior Design / Graphic Design
119 S. Court Square, Suite 200
Memphis, TN 38103
ph +1.901.323.1384

Background photo by Nathan Elliot, Formus. Process photo and graphics by Sophorn, Formus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tasted ~ The "World-Famous" Peabody Sunday Brunch

This past weekend, we were looking for a special place to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday, and I saw a sign at the Peabody Hotel to try the "World-Famous Sunday Brunch" then remembered a friend raving about it recently. We made reservations and were glad we did as we noticed others on a list waiting at least 45 minutes to get a table. The breakfast items were comforting and expected but the special lunch items such as salmon and calimari with spectacular dessert bar made the brunch oh so worth the price. I'll take a guess that the desserts are what make the brunch "world-famous."

For reservations call 901.529.3668.
Capriccio Grill at The Peabody Hotel
149 Union Ave
Downtown Memphis, TN 38103
Brunch is served Sundays 11:00am - 2:30pm
Cost ~ $34.50 for adults / $12 for children ages 6-12 / free for kids 5 and under

Photos by Sophorn.

Capriccio Grill Italian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 11, 2009

Inside the Design with J Press Designs ~ Jeffrey James and the Haul T-shirt

For this installment of Inside the Design, I welcome designer Susan McCanless with J Press Designs to talk about her design perspective and the process she took with the latest t-shirt design for Memphis band Jeffrey James and the Haul. When I asked Jeff what sort of direction they gave to the design, he said, "We like Susan's art so much that we said 'Hey Susan, make us something cool and she did.'" See Susan’s description below to understand how she caught the essence of their music.

The t-shirt design above is now available for purchase {just in time for Christmas} along with their vinyl records. Shirts and records are $10 each. Shirts are available in all sizes and 3 colors: green and red for the ladies and in smoke for the guys.

To order, contact Jeff Hulett at or call 901.859.9430.

“Good design must have both function AND form - not one or the other.”

For me, concept is the most important aspect of design. Design is not about Photoshop or InDesign or any other programs; those are just tools.You can't build a house with a hammer and nails alone. You need the blueprints - something to back it up - an actual reason. If you are designing something because "it looks cool" - then you are missing the point entirely. Good design must have both function AND form - not one or the other.

In school, our teachers encouraged us to start the design process with a pen and paper - brainstorming - a skill that I use to this day. When developing the Jeffrey James and the Haul t-shirt - I started with a list of adjectives that reminded me of the band:
{folky, genuine, happy, country, loving, energetic, homespun, gritty, plaid}

After that I start with the nouns:
{guitar, ferris wheel, nudie suit, whiskey, smoke, cowboy boots}

Now I have a feeling of where I want to go with the design, and I begin sketching .

Once I have a couple of pages of ideas/concepts, I go to the computer to fine-tune my concepts into finished designs.

Once I have a couple + (2, 3, 4...) designs that I am happy with - I send them off to the client to get their feedback. For me, this is the scariest part of the process - sometimes you hit the nail on the head, and they LOVE you. Other times you have to start all over and you feel like you failed. The most important thing about this stage is to lose your ego. It's not about hurt feelings or the client not liking you or your designs - it's about problem solving. They have a visual dilemma that YOU as the designer need to solve. You have to listen to your client’s ideas and suggestions, because in the end, you AND your client both need to be satisfied – only then have you done your job.

Susan McCanless

J Press Designs
475 North Highland • 8H
Memphis, Tennessee 38122
t: 901.336.7560
f: 901.525.8820

Special thanks to Susan and Jeff. Images courtesy of Susan McCanless, J Press Designs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

O-wow #7 ~ Nature Inspired Architecture

Although I have not posted an o-wow in a while, it is not why this project is featured. It's only featured because it's one of the most awe-inspiring things I've seen in a while in its sheer complexity. serie architects went through a complex study to create this indoor forest borrowing on nature's engineering of making something both strong and delicate.

See more photos and read more here. {Make sure to look at the design process diagrams.}
Found via designboom /Photo from designboom via serie architects. / Graphic label by Sophorn.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December Rock -n- Romp

We finally attended our first Rock-n-Romp after hearing so much about it from all our music-loving friends with kids. I attend a lot of free live music with Atticus, but when an event like this centers around welcoming kids, they are well accommodated therefore both kids and parents can comfortably enjoy themselves.

Memphis and about four other cities {Austin,Baltimore, Philadelphia and St. Louis} participate in Rock-n-Romp. I now consider it the hip way we do a playdate.

Atticus took front row when we arrived to see the second band up The Bulletproof Vests just starting their set. He also helped take a few shots with the camera. See the next two shots below.

Atticus was entertained with the fact that he could scream at the top of his lungs during the music and it didn't bother anyone. The rest of the shots of him and the other kids were literally a blur. It was constant movement but never did it feel chaotic.

Near the closing of Rock-n-Romp and the beginning of the South Main Holiday Parade, Atticus' friend and neighbor Elek joined us for the night without his parents. They were very excited when candy was thrown during the parade. It was the only thing that kept them wanting to stay out in that cold weather. {As evidenced above, Elek ate lots of not-so-good food. Sorry Diana and Peter.}

The next Rock-n-Romp is January 16 at the Center for Southern Folklore, downtown Memphis.
Thanks Stacey for the info.
Photos by Sophorn and Atticus.

Inside the {Logo} Design ~ Buck Daddy Blog / Part 4 / Refining

Based on the comments from Part 3 of the BuckDaddyBlog logo design, I started to refine everyone's favorites especially Buck. Part 3 options are on left and refined as it goes to the right or below. See further explanations below.

One of the greatest surprises for me was that the graphic did not look like a father tossing his daughter into the air to many viewers so that is why I see how much I needed that fresh perspective. Since Buck stressed that the logo should be fun, I wanted to keep going with that father-tossing-daughter image with modification of the father to look more like an actual figure. Separating one arm from the daughter in order to see a hand is the significant change. I just hope it can now past another fresh perspective test. {oops, Font Options are supposed to be labeling the rows not column.}

The second major set of refining involved making the logo look like a stamp or sticker. Boxing in the image seems to solidify everything. All of these options work well in black and white. The bd graphic at the start looks like a common logo I have started to see very often lately so adding the graphic image makes it much more unique to Buck. The last study of the text bubble addresses a suggestion to make the bubbly more like a "D."

The third major study that falls a bit outside of refining is the color study. Buck wanted a color scheme involving red, black and grey. There were various reds that I sampled from other logos that work {see Part 2} which is then tested against both black and white backgrounds. The logos below represent the options from above that have the most potential.

Stay tuned for Part 5 / Either Further Refining or Testing Application of Logo. Also please feel free to comment. Your input will be put to use.
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