Cambria California. Stay at the Blue Dolphin Inn.

This afternoon we arrived in Cambria for an overnight stay on our way to Santa Barbara.we were supposed to be staying at “Castle by the Sea Inn”, but the place turned out to be a throw back to 1980, and not in a good way. The hotel is a mid 60’s motel that was renovated twenty years ago, and hasn’t been touched since. So after hopping on Yelp and Trip Advisor, we found “The Blue Dolphin” which is located two blocks down Moonstone drive. What’s the difference you ask? Light years…

It all comes down to quality in the end. Both establishments were built around the same time, the difference is the Blue Dolphin’s proprietors are smart enough to recognize that good design pays off. People want to stay at a place that looks nice, is well maintained, and feels contemporary. Not only that, it’s fifty dollars cheaper a night. This place, even though it started life as a 1960’s hotel, feels like a 21st century upscale boutique hotel. The kind you would find in any major metropolitan city. It’s located 200 yards from the ocean. It’s quiet, comfortable, and refined. The staff is outstanding, and they were so gracious about last minute reservations at the height of vacation season.

In the end this place wins my business because of the quality of the overall experience.



10 New driving rules I learned in Johnson County Kansas today.

I’m sure these things happen everywhere, but after spending a couple of hours driving around Southern Johnson County today, I was filled up with the road rage and ready to unload. I had to renew my driver’s license a couple of months ago, and I found out you no longer have to even take the written exam to renew your license. Frankly after what I saw today, I think every driver in both Kansas and Missouri should have to take a full driving exam every 4 years. It might cut down on the stupid factor   that seems so prevalent on Kansas City roads these days.

  1. Turn signals are always optional.
  2. If at all possible execute left turns from the right lane, and right turns from the left lane.  (I’m pretty sure rule number 8 has something to do with this)
  3. If you crawl up a persons butt, they will go faster or get out of the way, if they don’t honk and give them the finger. Either way, tailgating is good. The closer the better.
  4. When the light turns green, count to five before stepping on the gas.
  5. You must have a cell phone glued to your head when you are behind the wheel.
  6. Weaving across the traffic lanes is OK. See rule 5.
  7. No matter how long you have lived here, use a GPS that is stuck to your windshield and obstructing part of  your view. In addition please fiddle with the GPS at all times.
  8. Always trust the route the GPS gives you, even if it is wrong.
  9. Traffic clusters are good. If at all possible, bunch up into large clusters and drive 10 miles an hour under the speed limit.
  10. At a stop light everyone must line up single file behind the first car there, no matter what lane it is in, unless the first car is in a turn lane. The objective is to form the longest line of cars at any given light.

Design Friday. Swiss Air.

Tomorrow I am traveling to Los Angeles for the Adobe Max conference, and since I’ll be flying I thought an appropriate Design Friday topic would be something that relates to the airline industry. I thought about making a statement focused on the subject of how people dress when they fly these days, or on how the leg room has gotten smaller while humans continue to get larger, but instead I decided to talk about Swiss Air’s fantastic printed material from the golden age of air travel. The 50’s through the 70’s.

I gathered most of these images from the ultimate Swiss Air fan site, so unfortunately there are some huge differences in sizing in the slide show below. I wish I had larger versions of some of the Ticket holders and the Timetables, but I didn’t prep these images and there is only so much scaling you can do.

The number of designers that worked on this material of the years has been huge. They include noted Swiss designers like Hans Neuburg, Robert Roser, Rudolf Lukes, Rolf Harder. No matter who worked on this material though, one thing is clear. There is a very conscious effort to make even the smallest material well designed. Each piece effectively uses grid systems, bold color, modern type, illustration and photography to convey the message in an appealing easy to understand form. When I look at these documents and think about the in-flight magazine I’ll have a chance to browse through tomorrow, it makes me long for the days when flying felt special, not like taking a bus at 30,000 feet.

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Transport, Gagosian Gallery and Marc Newson.

Last year I posted a Design Friday article about Marc Newson’s Ford C21 concept car designed in 1999. In that post I talked about Newson’s prolific gift for design and his attention to detail with form, and materials. It is this attention to detail, and his amazing gift for design that has lifted him to the top of the design world and placed him in a group of great masters. Gagosian Gallery in New York has recognized this talent and has opened a show entitled “Transport” which features not only the C21, but a number of items Newson has designed specifically for the transportation industry.

As a kid obsessed with designing and making things, post-war Italian design was a huge source of inspiration. I was amazed by the seamless ability of designers and industry to produce every conceivable type of industrial product, from furniture to automobiles. My own career has undoubtedly been influenced by the Italians’ impact on so many areas of design.

–Marc Newson

The show will premiere Aquariva , Newson’s reinterpretation of the famous leisure speedboats produced by the iconic Italian boatmaker Riva. Newson brings contemporary styling to Aquariva and draws from its predecessor updating the glamorous lines of the 1960s, the Aquarama. Newson has infused the classic model with his streamlined and forward-looking style using ideas imported from his innovative work in automotive and aerospace design.

As an industrial designer, Newson approaches design as an experimental exercise in extreme structure and advanced technologies, combined with a highly tactile and exacting exploration of materials, processes, and skills. His unique approach to design has a broad and diverse range from concept jets and cars to watches, footwear, jewelry, restaurants, and aircraft interiors. In a world where the distinctions between art and design are becoming increasingly blurred Newson is a trailblazer, having pursued parallel activities in exclusive and mass production for more than twenty years.

Photos by Rob McKeever

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Japanese Travel Posters from the 1900’s.

I’m waiting for a very, very large HD video file to download from a FTP server tonight. This gives me loads of opportunity to surf the internet, and find things while actually waiting to get to work. Well actually get back to work. None the less I stumbled on this French website earlier tonight while doing some research on travel posters for another project.

These Japanese travel posters from the turn of the 20th century are absolutely wonderful for so many reasons. What I really like about them is the way they combine traditional Japanese cultural matter with a very western style of design and painting aesthetics. In some of them, there is something that is just a bit off, like the illustrator was purposefully trying to make the figures features look more western, even thought the women are in traditional kimonos. Then there is the additional symbology that shows up in almost every poster, the flowers. I love it, sumo wrestlers, winged birds, women in kimonos, men in suits…

Beyond that they are beautifully illustrated, and the layouts are absolutely classic for travel posters of the time.