"Building Stronger Children, Instead Of Fixing Broken Adults."

We felt like the opportunity to design Super Heroics first pair of shoe was awesome, but to spend the day with their Hero Lab at Escondido Middle School was eye opening. This brand is beyond a shoe, it's about keeping our children creative, active and playing. 

Today, as adults we reminisce about being a kid again. Why not preserve that for as long as possible for our children. 

In Jason's own words:

"It use to be that the athlete is the destination... Now every summer there is a Marvel movie, every summer there is Comic Con,  so their childhood is based around moments with narrative. Second insight, kid's aren't playing sports like they use to, and when kids aren't playing sports, they're just playing. So as long we preserve that purity of play, that's the intention of Super Heroic. We're not here to tell kids that sports are bad. We're here to keep them in this mind-sight of creativity, imagination, and play for as long as possible. We're here to build stronger children, instead of fixing broken adults. "


An Choi Bep SF

Our good friend Anne Pham is starting a Viet food tasting series in San Francisco called "An Choi Bep" and guess who gets to help with the logo? Us. 

An Choi's literal translation is "Eat & Play." Traditionally it's food served on small plates and paired with drinks. It almost feels like appetizers before a meal, similar to French hors d'œuvre. We're excited about this series. Anne does a mouth watering job at translating familiar Vietnamese cuisine in her own way.

Reserve your seat today for the October 28th tasting. 

For our designer friends. Here's some process photos:



The Rest Of Us

If you haven't seen this Samsung ad, we think it's a subtle clap back at all the buzz around Apple's product launch. It really speaks to the makers and doers around/in us. Yes, both company build products that enable us to work, live, create more efficiently, Samsung's doing a good job at capturing the scrappy, diy'er types of our generation. Peep it. Tell us what you think?  

Tiny Camera, Grand View


Anh and I are spending the next couple months creating content for the Essential phone. Specifically 360 stuff, and I'm excited to get weird and creative. One thing to brag about the essential camera is that it's the smallest 4K camera on the market today. It's so tiny I barely notice it in my pocket. I've used other 360s in the past, such as the Theta and Gear 360, and they're more or less similar in quality, but the tiny form factor of the essential makes it my favorite everyday 360 camera.  (I think I'm onto something here. Everyday 360 =  the hashtag #360365)

As of late, I've been having so fun creating these tiny planet photos. Everything you see here can be done natively on the phone. 100 percent free, and really low stress. It used to cost thousands of dollars to achieve something like this in the past. Technology is so awesome. We move forward by making technology more accessible and convenient for the consumer, and Essential is doing a really amazing job at this. Enjoy the photos :



This was a live design conference held by IKEA just a day ago in Sweden. Give it a listen there are some gems. Plus if you're a van of Virgil Abloh (Off-White) you'll dig this. 

 Democratic design is coined by Frank Lloyd Wright, he thought it design should be available to everyone, not an elitist thing. Learn more about democratic design through IKEA. Really good listen. 


It's been awhile since we've done a community design projects. One year now to be exact. Last one was the watchdogs, and it's turn out was dope. Karim Rashid himself loved it. See the project here if you missed it.

This time let's design inhalers. Here's some info on "Metered Dosed Inhalers" if you want to geek out, but don't be constrained by all that data. Go wide in your explorations, have fun and explore unique materials, crazy mechanisms and bizarre shapes. We want to keep this loose so design criteria's are simple. Use the CAD provided. Must have a counter, 200 count to be exact. Use what ever tool you want, just as long as the idea comes across. Have Fun. 

Click here to download CAD

PS. Included are quick sketches that are inspired around the insecurities of using inhalers. Hiding the pMDI cartridge under a softer durometer material, this still allows for cartridge compression, and opens up some fun opportunities in design. 



Photo Credits: Shinola

Photo Credits: Shinola

Over the weekend I finally got around to snapping photos of the home and office products I designed for Shinola. Shout outs to the team at Astro Studios and the work we've done together. These were among the last few products I lead and directed before joining Playground. I'll post those soon.

Shinola is one of those brands that has a very distinctive design language due to their history with watches. As a designers this is an advantage, the advantage is you've got some of your work cut out for you. Aesthetic mood boards, colors, materials and finishes can be drawn from their watches. But, now you're stuck applying just a skin job. You're not innovating, not creating something brand new, you're just applying an existing look onto their future products. It almost reminds me of those college assignments where you're tasked to choose a brand and study it, then apply it's aesthetics onto some consumer electronic, like a toaster. For a project like this, I think If you're mimicking every detail like you're plagiarizing is a mistake. One thing I learned from working with Shinola is how invaluable it is to be a versatile designer. Cheesy reference, but what an environment is to a chameleon, should be what every project is to the designer. You adapt but it's never the same environment twice. The design goal to embrace their rich history, but pivot just enough to retain characteristics of the brand and show them what the future may look like.  

It was challenging for David and I to adapt our personal style to the outlets. Aesthetically I'm more of the hard-lines, machined surfaces, and future tech kinda guy. So naturally you can see how Shinola's soft, classic american heritage styling can be an a tough creative problem.  It's the complete opposite of what I'm used to. Laser crisp edges now abandoned for round bubbly details. I think the design turned out quite successful. Staying true to my style I kept the edges and part breaks tights but introduced soft edges and a pillowed top as a hommiage to the past. Here are photos of the final products, you can pick them up at a Shinola store near you.

Shout outs to Shinola, Astro Studios and my great friends David Whetstone and Sean Missal for the creative support on this and many other programs. 


Firstly we'd like to say. It's a blessing and a curse to drive trends and create things for a living. As creators It's our jobs to be conscious about the things we make. Especially in this day and age, where coffee machines come in hundreds of options, and each doing the same damn thing. Listened to The Minimalists episode "Creating." I especially love @ 16 min 20 sec. They compare the creative process to the tourettic person along the subway line. The person is yelling to themselves or at a wall. We've all seen this person. Yes, this person is creating a ton of content. Yes, this person is gaining a ton of attention, but is that content worthwhile? Is the content fruitful? Is he/she creating something meaningful, and for the better good of the world, or is he/she creating the same damn noise everyone else is? #foodforthought  


Of the release our favorite is the copper color-way. We still prefer the Adidas Yeezy V1 (turtle-dove) over the V2 design. What do you think?




If you haven't noticed by now design is a subjective trade. Similar to our taste in music. You and I are unique because we're individually influenced, and we classify good design differently. So how can we identify if our design is good? Cause what's good to you, may not be as seductive to me. Kanye West said a line that resonates here. "For me, first of all, dopeness is what I like the most." Kanye's dopeness is loaded with personal introspection. Again, it's subjective. If I may dissect, he's tying all of his personal experiences, idea of taste, visual appeal and constructive criticism to articulate something intuitively dope to him. Keyword, himself. Simply saying dope may be misleading to the untrained eye. Because what's dope to him, may not be dope to you. If we formulate dopeness, it means 3 things:  aesthetics, crafted intention, and unwavering confidence. Good design is the sum of all three.


Own a look like Picasso owns Cubism and stick to it. Be consistent in applying the look. If you're working with a family of things, define a common style to tie them all together. It's best practice to choose a look that fits your project, and retain it all the way through. I'm not asking you to stick to one style for the rest of your career. Just stick to one style for the rest of your project. Visually it'll be perceived as aesthetic confidence. You'll thank me later. In the industry we call this Design Language. In the long term try other design languages. The best designers adapt different styles over time.

Crafted Intention

Good design is not just good looking objects. Having a beautiful object but a weak idea, is like building a skyline with shit foundation. It's a tall tale with a weak plot. Eventually it folds into itself. You'll be surprise how far a strong and deliberate idea goes. Seth Godin said it best "No one is asking you to be that person who invent something that never exist before." I believe the best designers identify a problem space, finds the solutions that already exist, and bring them together. For example camera phones. At some point in history it became cumbersome to lug around a film camera, and rolls, and rolls of film. At a one-point someone saw the opportunity to combine the camera with a memory card, and inspired a shift in camera technology. Cameras became smaller, thinner, and lighter. Small enough that at another point it became cumbersome to lug around a digital camera and a cell phone. Someone saw the opportunity to combine the digital camera and cellphone, and inspired a shift in smartphone technology. We're not asking you to design something that never exist before. Truthfully we are curators of the present, we identify the problems we live with today, we orchestrate and combine solutions that already exist, therefore we design for the future. This is how you build strong ideas. Qualify it with real world science, the more realistic the science the stronger the idea. 

Unwavering Confidence

Lastly be your number one fan. Like Kanye, loves Kanye. Be proud of what you produce, and don't produce anything you're not proud of. Unfortunately there is lots of vanity in being a designer.  Yes, be humble but also be bad-ass. You have a to command a level of respect for your designs. Companies hire you for your subjective opinions. Have confident in your work, because If you're unsure so will your cleint and audience.

Marie Forleo X Seth Godin

If not now then when? In 5 to ten years. What will you regret?

" Bigger isn't the point. More isn't the point. Are there bad ideas out there? Yes, there are a tons of bad ideas. Not all ideas are equality good. Finding a thing that works is sufficient.? That's the challenge. Entrepreneurs for example. too many entrepreneurs think that there is a prize for originality.  There is no prize for originality. At ALL. You should steal another persons idea. You should bring something that works in Detroit and bring it to Cleveland. Because you don't have to worry about apologizing... There are so many places that we need more of something...No one is asking you to be that person who invent something that never exist before... We are asking you to do, is choose to matter, and align with who you want to be. "