A Touch of Style

A Touch of Style


A Touch of Style

I’ll be giving the book today as a prize – It’s [Carlos Mota’s new book] called A Touch of Style (Assouline; $85) You can win it by posting the best idea for accessorizing a coffee table. What are the ingredients for a great vignette set up on this important table in your living room? Send me your idea and at the end of the chat I’ll pick one and we will mail you the book. Recently Carlos Mota was a guest on The Washington Post‘s weekly Home online hour.

Along with The Post’s own Jura Koncius, he was answering readers’ questions about interior design in real time. With excitement I saw an opportunity to win a copy of his new book. I’ve mentioned – oh once or twice – my interest in interior decor so it will not surprise you that I thoroughly enjoy these weekly online hours and was thrilled to win A Touch of Style with the following post on styling your coffee table:

Games – beautiful wood games, something like a mini labyrinth. My father was Hungarian and my coffee table has a Transylvanian ‘trick box’ on it. It’s beautifully carved and people love trying to find the key and open it. Something meaningful that opens your heart. We keep the Tibetan singing bowl that we used at our wedding on our coffee table. Books of course!

 exactly !!!! objects with memories are the best.
A Touch of Style

The trick box.

A Touch of Style

One of the trick box’s secrets.















I couldn’t wait to get my hands on A Touch of Style – it is delicious. From the colors and texture of the cover each page is a finely chosen, individual treat. Just running your fingers over the lime green linen cover and tracing the imprint of the title gives a trill of anticipation. What inspiration is within! As room follows room and designer follows designer there is a rhythm – a  cohesion and harmony – throughout the book, made particularly impressive by the differing design styles portrayed.

These are two following pages – very different styles yet one leads well to the other.

A Touch of StyleA-Touch-of-Style_Inside_FINAL-48-web


But I have to admit, I adore the inside front cover and the inside back cover. It’s like stumbling across an exquisite sketchbook with a wild range of inspiration quickly rendered. We find Calder and Rothko jostling with Hello Kitty. There’s a delicious plate of pasta along with a cheeky hen and her chicks all rubbing shoulders with an African mask. It feels like an intimate glimpse into someone’s creative mind. You can see these sketches here.

Let’s delve into your inspiration to create a graphic design that captures your look and epitomizes who you are.
 A Touch of Style
Photos courtesy of Assouline – assouline.com

Podcast Logo Integrating Symbolism & Cuneiform

A well respected journalist starts a new venture – a podcast featuring stories from the Arab and Muslim world. It specifically gives voice to people who have an individual tale of culture, religion, politics… and more. These are gripping voices, but ones we wouldn’t generally hear: Voices Unheard.

We wanted a clean, black and white design for the podcast logo that fits the pared down style of her website. The logo also has to look good when displayed small on iTunes.

We put the title Voices Unheard in the center of the podcast logo, making it seem spherical – emphasizing the global aspect of the podcast and also giving it depth.

CunieformSymbolism is important, so we used the cuneiform symbol for sky or heaven – it also can represent God or Deity: Diĝir. This visually indicates that the podcast will cover many topics, from Muslims and Arabs all around the world, not just those in the Middle East. At the same time, Mesopotamia and cuneiform come from the Middle East representing how your culture and religion play into your identity, even as you travel and live around the world.

What we’ve ended up with is a podcast logo design that is light and airy, yet has strong lines. It also has movement and depth. As an added bonus its beauty is steeped in symbolism.

What do you want your design to say? There are many forms of expression – let’s figure it out together.

Bringing Joy – to your Home Decor and your Graphic Designs

Bringing joy - to your home and your graphic designs

Pens are corralled in these treadle singe sewing machine drawers

Do you have a relationship with your home – with your possessions and home decor – that gives you joy? art nouveau bookcaseI mean a full-on ‘I talk to you’ relationship? Perhaps you should? I remember happily the excitement I had finding the perfect pen holder I described in this blog post.

Recently I’ve been reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In it she describes her KonMari method of tidying your home and home decor so you only have to do the normal maintenance cleaning and tidying.

Her advice is first to keep only those things that give you joy. Send anything else on its way, with thanks, to somewhere it will be loved and not neglected. That’s another important part: have a conversation with your home, with your clothes, with your spatula even. Greet your home as you enter it. Thank your shoes for taking care of your feet as you take them off. You can even appreciate your sofa for being comfortable and the joy its design gives you. You’ll find a response in the atmosphere. My sofa, the corn maidens hanging above it and I had quite a fiesta when those fabulous cushions arrived from Lauren. I still feel the pizazz coming off that area of the room. Remember seeing them in this video blog?

Still of cushionsTo some people this sounds wacky. To me it’s an extension – a refinement – the advanced course – of how I already feel. I’m not acquisitive. Some people get a jolt from from the purchase itself but find the object lives in a drawer, never loved. I’m not like that. Many of my clothes are perhaps on the elderly side: they are old, quality friends and I take good care of them. We greet each other and value each other. At this point, it will not surprise you to hear that I use a mid-nineteen eighties era Miele vacuum cleaner. It’s giving excellent, tireless, and uncomplaining service with barely a problem. It is a touch heavy, but I don’t mention that.

We should surround ourselves with things we love. Marie Kondo argues convincingly that this will have a knock-on effect in our lives. Our environment is key. She asks us to visualize the goal for decluttering/tidying our home or home decor. This should be a concrete goal – not something vague like ‘serene’. You should visualize in-depth how you’d like it to look – describe it, hunt down home decor images that speak to you. In the end, you’ll have a detailed picture you’ve painted in your mind of how you want your home to be.

I think this is true of other visual aspects of your life. I touched on this in the blog post I wrote on how your home’s decor can act as inspiration for graphic design. This approach will help me as we capture your essence in your graphic design. Let’s work together to do exactly that.