Saturday, December 8, 2012

Making Your Charity Dollars Go Further: IKEA and Toys for Tots

IKEA stuffed animals headed to Toys for Tots charity.

Mission Workshop backpack at work.
GDL Studio ventured out to IKEA this holiday season to load up on stuffed animals. But they are not for us. This motley crew is headed to needy kids in the Washington, DC area through the Toys for Tots program.

You may recall we did a similar trip last December. We love going to IKEA because the critters are cute, not too expensive, and, as an added bonus, IKEA donates a dollar for each stuffed animal sold to UNICEF and Save The Children.

This year, we busted out our Mission Workshop backpack to haul this very important payload. While our weatherproof backpack didn’t face any inclement weather, it performed our animal transport mission handily.

We encourage you to make your charity dollars go further by purchasing IKEA stuffed animals and donating them to the charity of your choice. Please tell us of other retailers that donate toy proceeds to charity.

Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Snake + Calendar = The 2013 Snakalander

he topic of animal songs came up recently as Mrs. GDL Studio asked me if I was familiar with the tale of a snake who was apparently somewhat sneaky. I nodded knowingly and replied “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Mrs. GDL Studio offered the executive summary, the details of which escape me at the moment.

While putting the finishing touches on a then-unnamed calendar, the curvy aspects of the calendar reminded me of a certain slithering (and possibly sneaky) creature. To honor snakes everywhere, we present the Snakalander. (See what we did there? Sneaky, no?)

In case you were curious, no snakes were harmed in the creation of this calendar.

If you’re looking for a calendar where the days proceed from left to right, this is probably not the calendar for you. Be warned that in some months, the Snakalendar’s dates start at the bottom of the page and finish at the top.

The design may be a bit unorthodox, but it does offer some advantages. Putting up a few months at a time creates a frame, which leaves space in the middle for a photo. The pages can also be squeezed into tight spaces on crowded cubicle walls.

Act soon before this offer slithers away.

Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.

Snakalendar serving as a frame.

Snakalendar cover.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Five of our Favorite Modern Calendars

ome of our favorite modern calendars are not found in the Calendar section of our shop on Etsy.

1 -- Stendig Calendar: The first time GDL Studio ever experienced calendar envy was walking into a beautiful Logan, UT, home and seeing this fine specimen of paper-based time keeping. A few minutes later, we sat in an Eames Lounge Chair for the first time. Together, they sparked a modern design epiphany. We ran home to order one of these items. (Hint: it didn’t come with a matching leather ottoman.)

2 -- 365 Typography Calendar by Studio Hinrichs: Not only is the cover cool, but each month features a different font with a brief history of that font.

3 -- UrbnCal: GDL Studio loves to roam the streets looking for numbers and letters to photograph, but the fine folks over at UrbnCal have raised this to an art form when it comes to calendars. Each month is made up of number photos from various Nordic cities.

4 -- CATS LET NOTHING DARKEN THEIR ROAR: GDL Studio doesn’t generally support kitten calendars, but we let this one slide. Wonderful use of typography to “hide” the name of the month in a cat-related phrase.

5 -- Hayes Architecture Minimalist Calendar: Etsy is a great place to find interesting calendars. This is one of our favorites we have stumbled across this year. Simple. Modern.

Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from GDL Studio

eally busy is the best way to describe GDL Studio’s 2012 so far. We’ve been working on new designs, and our Etsy shop shelves are starting to benefit from those efforts. We are thankful for all our supporters, both new and old, and hope everyone has a stress-free Thanksgiving today.

As you strategize for your Black Friday shopping excursion, be sure to save some shopping for Small Business Saturday.

We’re ready for the launch of the holiday shopping season with our 2013 calendars (here and here) and we welcome a sneaky addition to our calendar collection -- the Snakalendar.

Where have we been hiding this summer and fall? Our big project was creating wedding stationary -- from RSVP cards to invites to programs to menus -- for a certain wedding.    
GDL Studio's 2013 Typography Calendar.
We’ve also been in the lab tinkering with new designs due out in 2013. We’ve even been experimenting with cutting-edge printing technology from the 19th century. 

What’s on tap for the blog?
• The story of the Snakalendar
• 5 lessons learned from our made-from-scratch wedding stationary project
• A few of our favorite (non-GDL Studio) modern calendars
Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Patchwork Fallout Shelter Signs Have Landed at Etsy

uietly, these yellow and blue artifacts hide in plain site. Fallout Shelter signs are a reminder of an era when the threat of nuclear war loomed in the background. 

The signs sat near the entrances to banks, schools, and government buildings in cities and towns across the nation. Many of these signs have disappeared, but some still sit in their original position, all but forgotten. We shudder to think what might be lurking in these shelters today or if they would really do any good in the event of a nuclear attack. 

Some of these signs look like they were just posted yesterday, but many of the signs we have stumbled across have taken on a beautiful patina from years of exposure to the elements. Whenever we visit a new place, we keep one eye peeled for these signs. Over the past several years, we have built a collection of dozens of photos of Fallout Shelter signs. We are now offering a unique print that features parts of 25 different signs. These photos have been "sewn" together to create a patchwork image that combine to make one sign. Check it out on our Etsy site.

Send us the address of any fallout signs you have seen in the Washington, DC, region.  

Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Forget Your ABCs, Know Your ETAs

erhaps you’ve never given much thought to why A leads off the alphabet and Z brings up the rear. We have, and apparently we are not alone. Instead of learning your ABCs, maybe you should be learning your ETAs.

It turns out if you look at how often any given letter appears in the English language, E rises to the top of the heap. T comes in at number two and A slides in at a respectable number three. Sadly, Z still comes in last place. Apparently, the folks who established traditional alphabetical order got a few things right.

Thankfully someone else did the math to come up with the proportionally-weighted alphabet, and the methodology can be found here. (A competing alphabetical line up can be found here using a different methodology.)

For those of you who prefer a more logical approach to the alphabet, GDL Studio is here to help. We have crafted not one but TWO prints that pay homage to our ETAs. One version features a more relaxed style using lower-case letters and a formal version with capital letters. (We also acknowledge the establishment’s preferred alphabetical order here and here.)   

Who do we talk to about getting schools to start teaching about ETAs? 

Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Custom Photo Letter Prints Now Available

ver the past few years, GDL Studio has been taking photos of vintage letters from across the county. Now we are ready to open up our vast array of letters to create custom prints. Each print will combine photos of letters found in different settings to make names or words. The opening letter of many of these blog entries (including that “O” over there) are examples from the growing letter library.

At the GDL Studio shop on Etsy, you can now place orders for custom-made prints featuring names or words of your choice. These prints with names make memorable gifts for the parents of newborns. Or they can highlight words that are meaningful to you (Bake? Read? Sing? Climb? Love?). If you can spell it, using letters in the standard English language, we can print it.

This mission to find unique letters has changed the way we view new cities, towns, and rural crossroads. We have found letters on faded billboards, flickering neon signs, abandoned drive-ins and other places where people wanted to get their messages out to the public. You never know what amazing sign is hiding around the next corner.

Send us a conversation on Etsy and let us know what you would like to do with our ever-expanding letter collection.

Follow GDL Studio on Twitter (@GDL_studio) or Facebook.