A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

pdxcross Bicycle Photos

Posted: December 31st, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, photography | Tags: , | Comments Off

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Speaking of great bicycle photography (uh.. back in August and September) pdxcross has a very nice collection of black and white shots of cyclocross racing from the 2009 season that you’ll enjoy. Consummate air travelers will recognize pdx as the initials for that mysterious land of lefty hipsters that is perpetually shrouded from the sun. Most of the rest of the country would do well to peer through all those clouds and take a good look at Portland (arguably the leading edge of cycle culture in the USA) and see what lessons could be learned. In addition to fit people practicing good politics and good policy they’d see a pretty hardcore cyclocross scene has been hiding out there too. Rain or shine these folks race – even in snow. Worth checking out. They’ve even put together a book called Dirty Pictures and there is a page about the team of photographers.

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Beautiful Sand by Andres Amador

Posted: December 26th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, landscape architecture | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

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Andres Amador an artist operating out of the creative miracle that is the San Francisco Bay Area creates beautiful, expressive patterns in the sand of beaches at low tide. Attendance at Burning Man in 1999 (just before the world was scheduled to end if you recall) set him on a path exploring the expressive arts with a particular interest in flow. While his website is not as lovely as his work I do love the amazing photos, his simple, heartfelt explanation in general and this line in particular: “To wield a flow instrument is to learn to listen to one’s self.”

Andres credits many sources of inspiration but presumably it is this flow of self-aware body movement that is the primary contributor to his creations. They really are quite remarkable and worth the time spent clicking through the photos on his site which also contains some videos and even an interview on CNN. He also does light sculptures, gives workshops and insights into team building which are probably much more interesting than anything you’ve experienced through your HR department.

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Happy Winter Solstice

Posted: December 16th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, design, downloads, output | Tags: , , | 7 Comments »

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Winter Solstice has been celebrated by many cultures for many thousands of years. And why not – it’s a big deal. What better occasion to gather together and find comfort in our connections with friends and family than the longest night of the year? Modern life often finds us far from our relations which is why sending a card is such a nice tradition. The time it takes to create, write and subsequently read brings us closer to one another. Granted it’s not quite the same as an all night, star-gazing, bonfire amidst the megaliths but it’s a nice bit of ceremony none the less.

So, in an effort to celebrate connections with colleagues, friends and family I’ve created the third annual, limited edition, BrainstormOverload Winter Solstice Card. Since I can’t send one to everyone I’ve linked to a pdf version of the design here. It won’t have a personalized note that way but given how I’m inclined to go on perhaps that’s best.

In the design on the front of the card each season’s solstice (or equinox) is represented by two arcs. A gray one for night and a colored one for day – the length of each being determined by the number of hours of light or darkness translated into degrees of circumference around a circle where 360 degrees signifies 12 hours. Possibly more than you wanted to know but it underscores how everything in Nature is simultaneously beautiful and meaningful. I hope it will bring a little color and connection to your evening on December 21st and that 2010 is a beautiful and meaningful year.

Download printable pdf version


Shelter Me

Posted: December 16th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: architecture, local twin cities | Tags: | 1 Comment »

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Shelter Architects has completed one of the first LEED Platinum residential houses in the Nation. And not just any ol’ place in the nation – right here in Minneapolis on Washburn Avenue near Theodore Worth Park. Not only is the design a nice break from the endless rows of traditional houses but the materials are up-to-date as well. The home boasts energy star lighting, no-voc finishes, recycled and fsc finish materials, and even reclaimed flooring and tile. They score on all three counts: reduce, reuse and recycle. Check out Shelter’s site for more or if you’re local make the pilgrimage one day when the weather is nice… late May perhaps.

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A Fortunate Calendar

Posted: December 15th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, design, illustration, local twin cities, output | Tags: , | Comments Off

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The second annual RedBlackBrown Collective calendar is done and available just in time for everyone who thinks ahead… but not too far ahead. Six designers, three Asian restaurants and 12 fortune cookies went into producing these limited edition, silkscreened, desk calendars. Now we’re looking for 100 good homes and offices where they’ll be well loved by design savvy people who would like something a little snazzier than the calendar the insurance company sends. Printed on cover stock by French Paper Company the calendars reside in a CD jewel case that folds open to stand proudly on your immaculate desk or works just fine closed on a stack of papers you would like to avoid dealing with. Either way it’s your call – just do it with style.

Calendars can be acquired from any RedBlackBrown Collective member you can lay your hands on or by clicking your mouse (which you probably already have your hand on) using this link for the RedBlackBrown Shop.

More pictures on flickr
Featured on notcot.org


Freedom of Expression

Posted: December 11th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: competitions, opinion, posters | Tags: | Comments Off

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Two things I’m very fond of are posters and human rights. Living in the United States means I am fortunate enough to be able to take my human rights more or less for granted and spend my time enjoying and designing beautiful things. Time others must spend simply enduring a repressive environment. I’m not going to suggest that a collection of posters is going to change conditions in your average, totalitarian, military or religious dictatorship directly. I do believe, however, that we are all connected somehow and that the energy and direction of large numbers of people has a subtle influence on events.

If this is true then the time you spend and empathy you feel while viewing the collection of 100 posters assembled by Posters 4 Tomorrow is time well spent and energy well directed. Share the link or do a design of your own for next year with the goal that as the belief in and expectation of freedom of expression spreads so too will the reality of it. Imagine all the amazing creativity that could be unleashed when every person is free to speak, draw, photograph and sing to their heart’s content.


High Style for Nursery Schoolers

Posted: December 5th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, bikes | Comments Off

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I just discovered that Sacha White the craftsman behind Vanilla Bicycles (which I’ve given up owning one of and contented myself with a their t-shirt instead) created a tricycle for his daughter. I remember loving trikes as a kid so I imagine she is one psyched little jr. cyclist. At 10 grand a copy I don’t expect you’ll see the kids around the neighborhood riding them any time soon but the original post by Wired is a good read.


Turning on the Pattern Tap

Posted: December 5th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: design, Interactive, resources | Comments Off

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The navigation design for the new BrainstormOverload portfolio site has been accepted into the jurried collection at Pattern Tap. There are many sites that agrigate beautiful designs but Pattern Tap takes a more utilitarian approach that is actually quite useful. Well designed user experience components (headers, forms, login functionality, etc.) can be browsed as collections and serve as inspiration to help overcome your own design challenges. It has proven to be a valuable resource so I’m excited to have contributed something in return. Thanks again for Jeff Zerger and Colin Petit for the development on the bsol site.