Posts in the "Durham / Chapel Hill" Category

July 20, 2011

cityfabric kickstarter

There’s a lot going on over at cityfabric these days. You guys may remember when I posted about them back in November. Well, now they have a new logo and an awesome new kickstarter project with lots of new collateral—if they raise $13,000 by August 31, you will be able to get their signature figureground maps on pillows, totes, canvases, prints and limited edition t-shirts. Watch the video above to learn more about their project and support your local business!


May 25, 2011


Do guys remember my friend Jaime VanWart who designed the Tasty Beverage Co. identity? Well, she’s done some more awesome branding for another cool local business. This time the client is Parlour, Durham’s latest food truck addition, a mini school bus turned mobile ice cream parlor. I have yet to try their ice cream, but it is definitely on my to do list!


April 21, 2011

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

Have you ever been just randomly walking around your city and seen one of the enigmatic Toynbee Idea tiles in the middle of the street?  Maybe you’ve seen this one in Washington, DC, or this one in Pittsburgh, or any of the hundreds more mysterious plaques that span the east coast and midwest of the US and even extend into various parts of South America.

What does it mean?





Well, if you’re like me, then you probably think that either a) this is really freakin’ weird, or b) this is really freakin’ cool, or c) all of the above.  And if you’re like Justin Duerr, the guy in that picture up there, then you are probably thinking: d) I’m going to devote my life to figuring this out.  And that’s what he did.

Last week Durham held it’s acclaimed Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, where dozens of fantastic documentaries are presented to eager audiences over the 4-day schedule.  I usually drop into one or two movies each year, hoping to hit a few that look super interesting, and this year, we hit the jackpot.  On Saturday, we got last-minute-line tickets to see Resurrect Dead, a Kickstarter-funded Sundance-winning documentary about the mysterious Toynbee Tiles.  The feature-length film had us captivated from minute one as the crew – basically three dudes and an amateur film-maker with a camera, set out to discover the origin of these tiles.  Their surreal journey took them through all kinds of you-can’t-make-this-whodunit-shit-up clues, including tracking down leads on microfiche, short wave radio, and pounding the pavement in blue-collar Philadelphia neighborhoods.

I don’t want to spoil the mystery for you, but needless to say, this doc was a great story and was really well-told, especially since this was Jon Foy’s first ever crack at making a movie, much less shooting, editing, and composing the soundtrack (all done without any prior experience while self-funding by cleaning houses)…

If you like an urban mystery with more than a touch of nerdiness (and you do, trust me), check out Resurrect Dead.  Looks like there may be another round of screenings later in the summer, so look out for those.


June 17, 2010

PechaKucha Tonight in Durham

Hey there local OKGreatsters – tonight is PechaKucha night in Durham.

PechaKucha Night is a networking / meetup / presentation event for designers, thinkers, and anyone else with an open mind.  The presentations at PK follow the 20 x 20 rule - twenty slides, twenty seconds per slide.  The slides progress automatically and the presenter hopefully keeps up with the action.  I’ve also heard there’s beer involved (I’ve never been).

Looking through the presenters list, it looks like a lot of interesting ground will be covered – from ‘Ephiphany Farming’ to ‘Advancing Civil Rights in Raleigh’.  Entrance is free, beer is free, but you have to register ahead of time (before 6pm tonight).  See y’all there.

For all of you out there who aren’t lucky enough to live in our fair Triangle, there’s probably a PechaKucha night near you.  Of note - renowned ‘Fiercest Town in America’ will be hosting one on June 24th.


December 16, 2009

Who’s the new kid?


I’m very excited to announce the addition of a new contributor to OK Great. Please join me in welcoming long time friend of the blog Michael Faber to the team! Michael will not only be serving up more great art & design, but will be helping us bring coverage to the many amazing arts/culture events in the Raleigh-Durham area. I could go on, but maybe I should just let Michael speak for himself. So without further ado, I give you Monsieur Faber!
Hello all!  I am ridiculously psyched to be joining the crew of OK Great and bringing some fresh content for all of you hungry readers.  I am a proud Durhamite and I’ll be serving up some big scoops of local art and culture for ya’ll in addition to some of the designers/illustrators/photographers/generally on-a-whim ass-kickery you are all accustomed to here.  I love typography, letterpress, giant things made out of steel, and great food & drink, so you’ll certainly see some of that coming through as well.  Say hi on twitter or check out my own blog, wont’cha?


October 9, 2009

Rock & Shop Photoshoot


Ellie and I got to take part in an elaborate photoshoot yesterday! The shoot was organized for the local jewelry & fashion designers who will be showcasing their work at the upcoming Rock & Shop Market in Durham. It also served as a promo for the talented photographers Aaron Nace and Rosie Hardy. The market will be held on Oct 17 at The Cotton Room in downtown Durham. For more info on the event & to download the poster I designed for them check out their site.


The shoot was unorganized, spontaneous and ultimately very fun. I spent a good part of the day just wandering around the space photographing the chaos. I did at one point get to hold the fog machine though, which was certainly the highlight of my week. Eventually Ellie got pulled into modeling a few dresses as well! Despite how much she hates being in front of a camera, I think she did beautifully. Visit our Flickr to see more shots from the day!

Read the rest of this entry »


April 8, 2009

OK Q&A: Black Horse


Last week we were lucky enough to have the extremely talented people behind Black Horse Studio drop by our office for a visit. Studio heads Jennifer Bostic & Lee Runion sat down with us to share their experiences at Black Horse and to show off their outstanding new photo books.


Black Horse is a photography/cinematography studio based in historic downtown Winston-Salem with a client list longer than the Mississippi. They have a 13,000 sq. foot space in a gothic revival castle with gorgeous hardwood floors. Jealous much??


Both Jennifer & Lee have been in the industry for a long time, so it was a pleasure talking with them about the state of commercial photography today. I always wondered if commercial photographers were frustrated by the seemingly unebbing transition to all digital work. As a casual travel photographer, I’ve found myself missing both the saturation of film and the methodology of the dark room. Black Horse has fully embraced the digital world, and Lee says it’s helped him ‘bring you, the client, a much better end product.’


One of the great upsides of the digital transition is the abillity to leave a photoshoot with at least some idea of how the images turned out. It’s standard practice for Black Horse to have multiple computer monitors showing each shot as the photographer snaps away. This way their clients can stand by and see every detail of how the photoshoot is unfolding. I know that if all of my clients stood behind me and watched me work all day I’d probably hang myself with my mouse cord.


Black Horse has a diverse staff of four alowing them to work all ends of the spectrum from gourment food stills to fashion photography. This variety helps to keep the staff refreshed and allows them to bring different styles to each project. We have a very similar experience at Flywheel in that our clientele ranges from art museums to university bioethics departments. It’s really nice to have an entirely new subject with it’s own unique challenges for each project.


Another huge advantage to having a client list as diverse as Black Horse’s is the ability to weather tougher economic times. We’ve seen so many excellent firms shut their doors because they subsisted on maybe 3 contracts and they were in industries like real estate development. It’s good to see another creative company flourish even in a recession.


It was really nice getting to know the good people at Black Horse and we at OK Great wish them all the best!!



April 2, 2009

Jessica Van Brakle




Saw these paintings at the Durham Arts Council recently, and they’ve really grown on me. The juxtaposition of construction cranes and lace/floral wallpaper, which reminded me at first of the “pattern painters” of the 1980s, and seemed like an empty visual gesture, has begun to impress me as a quietly powerful display of the ongoing battle between masculine/feminine, public/private, industrial/organic. Seems like a highly skeptical take on the idea of technological “progress.”


February 19, 2009

'cause occasionally this stuff comes in handy.


I’m working on a t-shirt graphic that is begging some cheesy 20′s-50′s kind of clipart. So I photographed a bunch of images from those copyright-free clipart books, and since I’m feeling very generous I cleaned it all up and put it on OK Flickr for your downloading pleasure. Hey, happy Thursday! (a 1950′s wink and thumbs up)


February 12, 2009

Makin' Dough, Takin' Names

Every so often a project will land at our doorstep that requires an investment in some difficult, extra-curricular research.  Which sounds serious, right?  But sometimes it just means that we need to experiment with making typography from pizza dough.  It was a doughy battlefield of awesome.


The project in question is a poster we’re creating for The Doughman, a  “team relay quadrathlon” or, more simply, a triathalon that involves eating while you race.  The race sounds really fun and a little hilarious, which is the same way I think we’d all describe working on the project thus far.


We got a little carried away.  But I mean, if you were at work and you got to play with dough at what is normally your conference table, wouldn’t you?  Thought so.


I’m not sure we’ll use any of this for the actual project but it gave all of us a better idea (or an idea to begin with) of what you can and cannot do with pizza dough in design.  Important, right?

Personally, I can’t wait to see what the final poster design looks like.


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