67 | Day Four - Brands, Identities, and Graphic Design - oh my!

The UPDATE blog is quick to feature paper treats, but it often doesn’t highlight the design goodies coming out of the LOTUS&ASH workshop where new companies become partners (in crime), not clients. The branding process is highly collaborative, such that sending the Final Brand Guide is bittersweet – the end of long e-mail threads and phone calls that start to include life updates as well as design feedback. Nevertheless, six brand guides have been sent out this year, with more to come in the following months.

This year, I was fortunate enough to work with appmakers and gluten-free bakers alike, and clients included: Metaneer Labs, tripgram, cyclehouse, Naveen cuisine, The Phenomlist, and AVVA. The one thing all partners had in common? A passion to make people’s lives better, via last-minute weekend getaway, a spin class, or press recognition they may not have otherwise received.

design spotlight: CYCLE HOUSE LA

Developing the  CYCLEHOUSE brand was a dream come true. It combined three of my favorite things: design, spinning, and los angeles. Branding went beyond logo and color palette. It extended to custom decals for spin bikes, wall graphics and invitations for Hollywood Swag bags. Seeing my logo lit up on La Cienega is surreal. Being inside the studio is exhilarating (especially because the spin classes are the best). If you're in the Los Angeles-area, I highly recommend heading over to La Cienega and Melrose for an hour of great music and endorphins.

65 | Day Two - Tess & Kieran

design spotlight: the wedding invitation suite of tess & kieran

LOTUS&ASH designed and hand-crafted the invitation suite for a beautiful wedding in August. Nothing short of one-of-a-kind would fit this unique couple –  Stanford alums with a passion for good food, good beer, and good fun. (And the primary reason why we all became fast friends)

The event was a four-day weekend in Lake Elkhart, WI, centered around a ceremony and reception at the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. The couple exchanged vows on the site of the childhood library of the father-of-the-bride, where he had earned top-notch bookworm bragging rights years before walking his daughter down the aisle.

The places and wedding activities were deep with family history. Capturing this and the excitement and fun of the weekend as well, the invitation suite featured:

A whimsical Save the Date postcard, inspired by a New Yorker cover loved by the couple.

An 8 page Wedding Invitation Booklet

with envelopes  lined with pages from an Antique Mother Goose Book...

The inside cover featured a dedication to family and friends

…page two highlighted the weekend events

and a hand-drawn map of the area followed.

An old school Library card marking the milestones in the couple’s relationships so far served as the perfect reply card:

The cover (complete with gold foil stamp) was printed by Oscar Printing in San Francisco, and each page and envelope was printed by L&A.  250 Booklets were hand-sewn over an entire weekend.

The ceremony and reception were complemented by matching programs and menus.

(photo by anna page photography)

Last but not least, the (paper) love continued on letterpressed stationery, printed on thick Crane Lettra.

The wedding suite was a paper pinnacle for LOTUS&ASH, and one of the first of many to come...

62 | Paper Pilgrimage : Chicago

The L&A Summer Adventures continued this past weekend with a paper pilgrimage to Chicago, birthplace of Paper Source.

But first: a little history: Ever since I started making stationery, Paper Source has been my go-to for supplies. Back in the days when every piece of personal stationery was embellished by a ribbon, brad, or border card, I went to my neighborhood Paper Source before starting an order to be inspired by their shelves. One of my fondest memories from college was the day when a Paper Source opened across the street from campus in Town and Country village (and saved me from a 30 minute drive to Santana Row). Today, my designs have been simplified, but Paper Source is still my go-to for fine decorative paper, unique gifts, and pointed tip envelopes, the smell of which is intoxicating.

So, even though the original store isn't unlike any other Paper Source (I wish there were a souvenir t-shirt), I was so excited to visit the place where it all began, and pay my respects.

In an old, three story building that looks like something out of a story book, the original Paper Source has three rooms filled with paper treats.

For anyone embarking on any personal paper project, I highly recommend making a visit to your local store, or shopping online.


But, it wasn't all about Paper Source. The journey to Chicago was not without a weekend's worth of design and paper delights:

Terminal 2 is my new favorite place in San Francisco. Can I go there even if I'm not flying? From now on, I'm going to fly Virgin just so I can enjoy Acme Bread and Cowgirl Creamery (purchased in T2), and go-go inflight WiFi on my flight.


Once we touched down in Chicago, there was plenty of Frank Gehry to delight in...


And an architectural pilgrimage to the Farnsworth house, just an hour outside the city and a pristine example of the International Modernist style by Mies van der Rohe.

Being inside the home is inspiring, as it seems to float in the landscape.


And a visit to nearby lumenhaus, a completely self-sustaining house designed and built by a team at Virginia Tech, inspired by van der Rohe's design. I call this the Prius of houses, and I was in awe of its efficiency and beauty.


I survived the heat and humidity at Pitchfork Music Festival…which was a designer's treat with its tasty use of Neutra and Memphis and hosting of a Flatstock screenprinting show.

And once the sun set, my appreciation for Toro y Moi and  Cut Copy grew after seeing them live. TV on the Radio was a sweet lullaby at the end of the long, hot day. Check out their best:

Toro y Moi  - New Beat

Cut Copy - So Haunted

TV on the Radio - Province


The trip ended with a preview of Next Door, State Farm's sub-brand, designed by my favorite designer. Intended as a financial resource center / workspace / cafe for twenty somethings, the space is San Francisco coffee shop meets Stanford D.School.  It sits in between an Urban Outfitters and Trader Joe's on Diversey. It's awesome, and if you're in Chicago, I highly encourage a visit once it opens in August. Love that blue and red.


Last but not least, no post would be complete without some L&A paper. A new addition to the L&A stationery line-up, I designed a record/camera/bicycle stationery multipack as a thank you present for our gracious host.

Whew! It was a whirlwind trip... but I wouldn't have had it any other way in the windy city.


Next Stop? Shanghai.

60 | Summer Vacation

( great poster by DOWLING| DUNCAN )

One look outside the window at the foggy San Francisco skyline, and you know... Summer is here. The city is notorious for its June gloom and gray Julys, so what better way to hold out for the September sun than by spending the weekend exploring someplace else?

Good thing, because L&A has been in a travel mood with plans for impending summer trips, and a range of custom designed maps.

| ELKHART LAKE . designed 06. 2011 |

| DOWNTOWN LA . designed 06.2011 |


Where will you find yourself this summer?

My plans span across the country...

If you have any additions to the itinerary, I always appreciate recommendations for good food, good design, and delicious paper.

Of course, my heart will always be in San Francisco, and I'll be sure to share the sights of my summer travels on weekends spent back in the fog.

For now, here are some L&A travel tips:


If you're like me, travel makes you hungry, and you don't want to ruin your explore-a-new-city-appetite with a Cinnabon at the airport.

And, if you're like me and opt for the flight deal (which will take you to airports in the middle of nowhere where Cinnabon isn't even an option), you must pack snacks.

Snack Hint #1:  Pre-trip Tupperware

The night before your trip, cut up firm tofu into 1/4" pieces and pan fry them in coconut oil  and ponzu sauce. At the same time, cook some quinoa. Let cool and store in the fridge. In the morning, combine the quinoa, tofu, and the leafy green of your choice (I chose arugula), and slice up a lime. When you're ready to eat, squeeze the lime across the contents of your tupperware. (HINT: Use disposable tupperware (like a leftover plastic container from Whole Foods, so you can throw it away at the airport).

Snack Hint #2: Cereal

I love cereal, but I hate dry cereal. To solve this at the airport, I bring a bag of dry cereal, and hit up the closest starbucks for a cup of soymilk. Then, as I wait for my flight, I can enjoy my perfectly slightly soggy, slightly crunchy cereal. (And make all the other passengers jealous).


I find the best way to spend travel time is by doing that craft you've been meaning to do (but never get to). Bag of tangled necklaces? Take it on your next flight for landing and take off when you can't have any electronics on. My favorite crafts (are still) the Klutz Craft Kits.

(yes, I do still own this book)

Bonus for driving trips! You can bring scissors.

That's all for now.