in living colour!

Ever wondered why some creatures are so colourful? –Just think of the range of colour from birds’ feathers to butterfly wings to snake skin, insects and amazing underwater life!

I was reminded of last year’s visit to Harvard’s Natural History Museum exhibit on Colour in Genetics, when I discovered these great photos of nudibranchs in National Geographic. These cute little guys are actually sea slugs! –Their colours are incredible, but they’re also incredibly toxic!  (Pretty cute though, huh?)

I pulled out my Moleskine and reviewed my notes from the exhibit, and thought I’d share my insights with you ….


Reds, oranges and yellows that appear in sharp contrast, against black or white in an organism that lives in an otherwise neutral environment, sends the message, loud and clear: STAY AWAY! to potential predators. This natural phenomena is called aposematism. Basically, it’s when toxic, dangerous, or bad-tasting animals use bright colours to avert their prey.

But Mother Nature is sometimes tricky! Some creatures have these colours, but are not dangerous at all! –They cleverly fool their predators into thinking they are, by mimicking the coloration of dangerous living organisms, like many butterflies in the Amazon.


Some birds and mammals change colour by shedding their feathers or fur with the changing seasons. But many fish, amphibians and reptiles can change colour much more quickly, by adapting pigmentation in living skin cells, called chromatophores. In fact, chameleons don’t change colour to camouflage themselves, like most people think! Scientists have proven that chameleons actually communicate emotions like interest, excitement, anger or fear, when changing colour!

–However, this clever chameleon might have you think otherwise! (With a little video editing help from the author! )

But cephalopods, like octopus, cuttlefish and squid are the true masters of  colour shifting! Cuttlefish signal rivals and mates with wave after wave of colour shifting. Even more amazingly, octopus can replicate background, colour and texture so perfectly that they appear to disappear with the blink of an eye! Take a peek for yourselves … No video editing here, folks! –Enjoy!


Wallpaper Magazine: Design your own cover! –August issue

For those of you who want to take a stab at cover design, Wallpaper Magazine has just come up with a clever new way to get subscribers for their August issue!

They’ve created an interactive designer’s toolkit, complete with designs by James Joyce, The HortAnthony BurrillKam Tang, and Nigel Robinson –that you use to build your very own Wallpaper cover. So if you want to showcase your creative talents in this edgey design magazine…. Try it out! Here’s mine:

something to tweet about!

Happy Victoria Day!

I came across this article through the laughing squid site…

According to iA, they’ve identified the 140 most influential people on twitter, sorted by #name #handle #category #influence and #activity. You can even purchase a poster of it, (though truthfully, I’m not sure why you would want one!) It’s an interesting exercise just the same … it provides a snapshot of what matters most to the Twitter community. (And you guessed it, some of it is as banal as you may have thought! … E.g.  Jason Santa Maria, 02 | 09: ‘Trying to wake up.’)

a few good books for inspiration on graphic design …

While strolling along Queen west today, I stopped into one of Toronto’s hippest design-y bookstores, called –Type.

I found a few good books on current trends in graphic design, including:

Sarah King is just one of the many fun typographer/ illustrators from Playful Type, to entice you!

There are so many great books on this subject … I’ll keep adding as I find them!

For a theoretical retrospective on graphic design, check out Helen Armstrong’s, Graphic Design Theory –it’s excellent!

looking for inspiration (or work) in graphic design …

This list of edgey design portals comes courtesy of Kris and Robyn! Thanks, guys! 🙂

qbn: a huge portal of graphic design:

thunderchunky: a design portal from the UK

Canadian design blog

Scott Hansen’s blog

lost at e minor: this is a great site that links to lots of other cool sites about art and design

rexbox: visual design for fun things

And last, but not least …
Ffffound: image bookmarking

(by clicking on images you like, it links you to more images that are somehow
related. this site is an inspirational rabbit hole with no end,  connected by a large group of artists and designers.)


Tutorials for digital imaging & all things Adobe …

Staying current and keeping up with fresh new trends in the digital design world is no easy task in this highly competitive industry!

But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune! To learn a few new tricks on Adobe’s latest and greatest suite, try your hand at LAYERS Magazine’s FREE tutorials . (LAYERS is the How-to Magazine for Everything Adobe!)

You’ll find all kinds of goodies on ‘how-to’ make cool stuff in Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, InDesign, AfterEffects, Premiere and more!


timelapse video animation of twitter …

For those of you who wonder what the point of Twitter is …. here’s a quick time lapse video to spell it out! –Enjoy! 😉