Creative Wavelength

The start of fall, the start of another Creative Wavelength round-up. 😀 Here are a few of the awesome things creative people are working on, that made their way through the internet to my attention:

Transparent Botanical Prints

These transparent botanical prints are everything. They look fabulous, and I want all of them.


Noma Bar

Israeli-born graphic artist Noma Bar uses negative space and clever double entendres in his work, shared in his new book. Love these!


Brushstroke cake

A bakery in Moscow has put a new twist on cake decorating – edible brushstrokes! These are just awesome and I want one.


Sebastian Wickeroth

The art of Sebastian Wickeroth seems simple but is deceptively intricate. I find it kind of mesmerizing. His marker pen art also.


Janaina Mello Landini

These unbraided rope installations by Janaina Mello Landini are crazy. They really do look like roots or nerves.


⇒ An important read: Multilevel-marketing companies like LuLaRoe are forcing people into debt and psychological crisis.

⇒ Has anyone tried this out? I’m curious. Artsnacks subscription box.

The Rescued Film Project – this is just cool.

⇒ If you aren’t already familiar with Postmodern Jukebox, give this a try: Dream On as a Classic Jazz tune.

Have you come across any creative works that blew your mind recently? Do tell!


Favorite Things Here at Studio Guerassio

Favorite Things Here at Studio Guerassio

Today I’m not talking about logos or design best practices or book covers or website tips or any number of design-related topics I usually cover. Instead I want to do something I don’t normally do: gush. I am not the most effusive person. My inner thoughts and emotions are usually played pretty close to chest, unless I know you really well. The face I present here is usually that of the professional designer. Which is not inaccurate, but not the whole picture either. There’s a real, live human behind this business, too, and today I want to give you glimpse into her world. So today I’m sharing (and raving about, in my own way) a few of my favorite things.

Plum Paper Planners

Plum Paper lets you customize the interior layout/content of your planner so you can get just what you want. I get a monthly spread overview, and then a whole bunch of lined Notes pages for each month. That’s it, but that’s what works for me. If we have a meeting in person or are talking over the phone, I’m taking notes in this thing. I always know where to find my notes or thoughts on something, based on what month it was when the meeting or project happened. I love these things, and they don’t break the bank. 2018 will be my 4th or 5th year using one of these.

Zebra Pen mechanical pencil

Those notes I’m taking in my planner? I’m using this pencil. The M-301 .5mm stainless steel barrel pencil, if you want the nitty gritty details. This is the workhorse of my office writing implements, used for notes, sketching and jotting down odd thoughts. I think I’ve literally had this same pencil for years. I don’t mean same brand, same kind – I mean the exact same single pencil. It’s got a good grip, the lead never snaps off, the construction is solid (that metal clip is no joke). It’s just a damn good pencil.

Ghiradelli dark chocolate sea salt caramel

I’m going to reveal myself for the hedonist I am right here, but one office supply item I think is seriously underrated is the desk snack. Specifically desk chocolates, and very specifically the dark chocolate sea salt caramel squares by Ghiradelli. These are the best, with the dark chocolate raspberry coming in a far second. Need a dessert-y item after lunch? Done. A quick afternoon bit of yum? Easy. A pick-me-up for a day not going well? Desk chocolate to the rescue. It’s a small thing, but small things make a difference. You can almost always find a pouch of those single-serve squares on my desk.

David Rio Chai Mix

Speaking of delicious things! I have a favorite coffee shop here in Austin, and aside from the ambiance, parking, vibe, etc. one of the reasons it’s my favorite is because of their chai tea lattes. They are like liquid candy. SO GOOD. I’d been getting them for years (and getting my friends addicted to them, too), and finally learned they use David Rio chai mix. The Elephant Vanilla variety, to be exact. While I can’t quite get the foamy wonder of the coffeeshop latte at home, it’s pretty close. The Tiger Spice chai, Maple Moose chai and Tortoise Green Tea chai are also good. Stay away from the sugar free versions, though – blech.

Very select text notifications

I am not a person whose phone blows up with notifications. I have almost all of them turned off. I don’t get dings and red circles for emails, or Twitter, or FB messages, or any of the other dozens of apps I use. I basically only have 3 things turned on to make noise: phone calls, text messages, and reminders. So nothing makes me happier with a service I use than when I don’t have to download another app but can still get notified on the go without having to turn anything extra on. My favorite of these is my post office box. They actually send me a text message when I have mail in my box, so I’m not just making fruitless trips to the post office on the off-chance that check I’m waiting for has arrived. This has been a huge time saver. Shout-outs also to my library letting me know when a book on hold is ready, and my pharmacy for when prescriptions are ready to pick up. Life made easier: ✓.


In the same saving-me-time vein, Instacart cuts out the time I used to spend at the grocery store. We started using this service in earnest while I was ill/recuperating earlier this year, but it’s just so handy I don’t see us quitting anytime soon. Add the items you want to your cart, choose a delivery time, and checkout. Bam, groceries right to your door as soon as an hour or 2 later. Why did it take so long for this to exist?! There was a small bit of learning curve (when you add bananas to your cart and the picture shows a bunch and so you say 1, thinking 1 bunch, but then you only get 1 lonely banana…) but judicious use of the ‘add a note to this item’ option has helped iron those kinks out. HEB, Whole Foods, Costco, Petco, etc. – all available through Instacart. You’re welcome.

Tramontina Style Ceramica cookware

This set of pots, pans and cookware was nearly the only physical item on our wedding registry (we opted for mostly a honeymoon registry instead). Two years in and they are still nearly as good as new. The ceramic nonstick lining, once you season them with oil properly, holds up amazingly well and cooks evenly. And these are legit the easiest things to clean in the world! That nonstick designation is no joke. Plus the metallic copper color outside adds a nice burst of color to our kitchen (what? I am a designer after all). Functional + pleasing to the eye = good design + happy home chefs.

Cork Pops Legacy Wine Opener

I first saw one of these at my sister’s house. She is admittedly a much more dedicated wino than me or my husband, but once my husband took up homebrewing, we suddenly had more wine on our hands than we knew what to do with. Pretty much any gathering we host now includes a bottle or 3 of wine, and this gadget makes opening those bottles a breeze. Plus it’s just so fun to use. The only small downside is that it doesn’t work on wines that have carbonation – your moscatos, champagnes, etc.

What are some of your favorite things, business-wise or life-wise?


*Inspired by a similar post from Paul Jarvis about his favorite things.

**The Sound of Music was one of my favorite movies when I was little, so of course I’ve had the song about favorite things stuck in my head the entire time while writing this. Hence the title image.


It’s Not About Preference

“Good design is not about personal preference- yours or your client’s.”
Terry Lee Stone

Here’s a bit of hard truth many business owners don’t like to hear:

It doesn’t matter what you like or want.


I mean this in relation to making design and branding decisions for your business. I’ve covered why business design doesn’t care about your personal preference before, so I’m not going to get into that again here. What I do want to get into is this:

It also doesn’t matter what I, as your designer, like or want.


If my job is not to be passionate about your business, it’s also not to just do whatever I want or like. My job is to do right by your business. That means coming up with the idea that works best for it. Or, if you already have an idea when you come to me, to tell you whether it’s a crap idea or not.

You may go to another designer and say “This is what I want” and they churn it out for you. And it may be what you wanted, and you may like it. And likely it’s absolutely useless for your business.

Or you may go to another designer and say “Do whatever you want” and they do, and it might be aesthetically cool but likely has nothing to tie it to your business.

With me, I’m not going to ask you what fonts and colors you like. Instead, I’ll ask you all about your business, customers and goals, and say “This is what you need.”

It’s not about us, you see. It’s about your business, and the customers your business is for. That’s who all design, branding, marketing, etc. should be focused on. That is my guiding principle in designing for your business, not any personal preference on your part or mine. I design with the purpose of making it fit for your business exactly, and helping that business succeed.

Do I hope you’ll still like the design? Absolutely. I like happy clients. Do I hope I’ll still like the final design? Again, definitely. But the real secret is this: when you focus on design that makes sense for the business, it’s hard for all parties not to be pleased.

For business-centered design, do you agree that personal preference should be left out of it?


Expanded Identity for Skadi's Ice Parlor

Expanded Identity for Skadi’s Ice Parlor

If you know me offline, what I’m about to tell you won’t surprise you.

I have a pretty serious sweet tooth.

There’s a reason that an ice cream shop was the first business I decided to use for my Brand Nuance series. And one of those ideas stuck around and niggled in the back of my mind. What if it was a real ice cream place? What would their menu be like? Their interior? How would the rest of this place look?

I decided to answer my own questions.

Any good design exercise has at least some sort of brief to guide it. Here’s what I was working from for this: Skadi’s Ice Parlor is a modern ice cream place that focuses on odd flavors and small handmade batches from fresh ingredients. They seem themselves as a fun adventure for your tastebuds in the midst of the concrete jungle. The goal was to balance friendly fun with urban hipness, and give a nod to Scandinavian design (Skadi is a Norse goddess of winter).

To do that, I used a fairly minimal design approach, created a set of rune-inspired icons, and chose a range of pastels to offset the harsh textures and lines of their city setting. Pastels also work well for ice cream, so it seemed a natural fit. Balanced against the strong type and angles in the layouts, it achieves what I was aiming for rather than seeming too sweet or childish.

Their menu* is broken down into 7 sections, and each has its own color and icon designation that carries throughout the visual identity. Any dine-in cup or to-go pint will be the color that corresponds to the menu section the flavor ordered comes from.

Take a look:

Skadi's Ice Parlor - Menu

Skadi's Ice Parlor - Cups

Skadi's Ice Parlor - Interior

Skadi's Ice Parlor - Sign & Pint

Customizable product mock-ups are a thing of beauty, I tell you. I made myself hungry more than once working on these pieces. And I legit want to try some of these flavors, so someone make some of these weirder ones for me, ok?

What do you think? Would you be tempted into this ice parlor for a scoop?


*Is it weird that I had almost as much fun coming up with this menu as I did doing the design work? If I ever decide to scrap designing and start a second career, this might be a reality…

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Amanda Guerassio

From freelance designer to studio owner, I've been a self-employed, independent graphic designer for over a decade. I love helping people find the right visual voice for their businesses and projects. Let's talk!