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.

Poster Offensive Prints

Posted: August 11th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, local twin cities, opinion, posters | Tags: | Comments Off

I’ve finally finished printing, trimming, signing and numbering my entry into Poster Offensive 5. A limited edition run of 40 in metallic blue on 100 lb. cover (Grout Gray) by French Paper. I’ve got lots to learn before I achieve the technical skills of poster artists I admire but I’m pleased with my first screen printing project since my professor Doug Minkler introduced me to the medium 20 years ago.
The Poster Offensive is a collection of posters each of which express a strong opinion on a social or political theme of the artist’s choice. Wars often spark a headlong rush to develop technological advancements. Yet at the same time our use of those advanced technologies for wanton killing and destruction diminishes our connection to our humanity. What will we be when we have “advanced” to a state where we premptively kill our enemies via satellite – never looking our advisary in the eye? When it becomes easier to eliminate a problem than to address it? When the weapon in our hand looks the same as the joy stick connected to a child’s video game? Will something fundamental to our humanity have retreated as far as our technology has advanced? That’s the question I hope will be asked when looking at my spin on the classic “Evolution of Man” illustration.
It should be a thought provoking show. The Frank Stone Gallery in Minneapolis will host the show from October 28 through November 7, 2010 with an opening reception on Friday, October 29th.

Read: Rework

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: input, opinion, resources | Tags: , , | Comments Off

I just finished reading Rework by the founders of 37 signals Jason Fried and David Hansson. The authors’ brilliance is in making all the advice sound intuitively spot on, straightforward and achievable. It’s a reassuring book to read if you are starting out on your own. It was written to give you the confidence to work in ways that make sense to you rather than trying to recreate in miniature the bureaucratic, wasteful and often self-destructive habits many large companies develop over time. Jason and David lambaste growth, workaholism, meetings, delegation and many other tenets cherished by large companies.
If you’ve spent time in a traditional advertising agency were the lion’s share of a project’s time-line is lavished on the search for “the big idea” the authors fire a shot across that bow as well saying: “Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The real question is how well you execute.” If you are considering or have already started out on your own even this particular heresy will ring true. You are full of ideas. What you need are freedom and clients to partner with so your ideas can take flight.
Thanks to the recession the 1099 workforce is full of top level talent that may never return to the big agency world. Smaller scale projects seem plentiful and now is an amazing time to take your ideas and your inspiration for a ride. But as the authors say “…it won’t wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.”

Two Huge Pedal Strokes Forward

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

The Saint Paul Greenway Event was a bigger success than we could have imagined. In the weeks leading up to the event, the Committee was strategizing about how to deal with the awkward silence in the room if only a handful of people attended. Yes, we had a game plan for if we heard crickets chirping. We did not, however, have a plan for if 150 people attended and our ‘talking tables’ were dwarfed by the people gathered ’round. As the line to sign in diminished, Laura Baum of Smart Trips kicked off the conversation with a little on the Greenway Committee and its effort, Paul Nelson, Greenway Committee Chair, shared a bit about the six plus years he’s been working on this, and Russ Stark provided a dose of reality infused with touch of inspiration. The bad news: The City of Saint Paul lost the case with CP Rail which means we’ll have to reconsider how we press the City for a safe urban trail along the Ayd Mill section. The good news: 150 people rallied on a beautiful Wednesday to show their support for infrastructural investment that doesn’t play slave to the combustion engine. As Karen Hollish described in her Twin Cities Daily Planet article, the number of people who attended last Wednesday’s meeting illustrates the growing interest in and need for non-motorized transportation options. It was also apparent, through conversations about some of the design ideas, that we have to push the City to consider a safe option that accommodates multiple users at the same time. Theresa Nelson, Greenspace and Art Programs Manager of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, shared her experience and urged us to not just replicate the Midtown Greenway, but do better. She gave some fantastic insight into the process and doubly urged us to consider design elements along the corridor sooner rather than later. We’ll take that suggestion to heart (her involvement spanned eleven years and she’s still working on the effort so I’d say she’s got some credence). The resounding voice was loud and clear: Continue with the effort no matter what the speed bump. Push for the vision of a SAFE urban trail, do not settle for a measly path that is unsafe and creates conflict between users.

As we suggested in our post about the High Line, visualization of a vision is essential to the process. We here at BSOL enjoyed lending a little design time to the effort to produce illustrations of what is, and what could be. We think the potential is there, how about you? Here’s the existing condition just north of the Marshall and Snelling intersection.

Here is the potential…

And in the Ayd Mill Corridor, this next graphic illustrates what the consultant proposed (12 foot trail, six foot fence and no design features like stormwater gardens, lighting, benches, etc…).

And here’s what we think would be best given the requirements:

What about a bridge spanning the Mississippi so we really can connect to the Midtown Greenway? While this area is technically in Minneapolis, why not think about the potential? The bridge could be much, much cooler than this but here’s what we whipped up for the meeting.


And the potential:

If the Saint Paul Greenway is something you’d like to see happen please sign on to the vision to let the City know this is a vital link to our regional system.

P.S. You do not have to be from Saint Paul to sign the vision….Minneapolitans, Suburbanites, Exurbanites, the more we push for this in all areas, the better the system could be!

Ikea Giving You the Business

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: interiors | Tags: , , | Comments Off

It turns out Ikea has a business website where you can share your space this includes a home office showcase. One of the nicest things about it is that people from all over the world are participating (though that makes reading the captions difficult if you are language impaired like most Americans including myself). The image quality isn’t great (not sure why they built it with Flash) but it’s nice that they are obviously authentic and include non-ikea furniture. I like the long custom desk in this photo from a studio in Switzerland. The site also has other features like an interactive ergonomics widget in the “Tools and Guides” section.