Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday top 5

Stephen Wiltshire: A beautiful mind
Incredible savant draws a detailed, seven-yard panorama of Rome after having only flown over the city once for 45 minutes.
More info:
Wisconsin Medical Society

A blog covering album cover designs.

The Superest
An ongoing character illustration battle between Kevin Cornell, Matthew Sutter, and occasional guest artists.

WGA Strike: A Love Story
The Writer Guild strike continues, but the writers keep writing, while the networks give you reruns and game shows.

Watch your (fo)odometer
How many miles does your food travel from field to fork? Presented in an interestingly animated fashion.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday Top 5

Microsoft's Seadragon/Photosynth
Blaise Aguera y Arcas of Microsoft Live Labs demos Seadragon/Photosynth, some incredible software that's capable of assembling static photos into zoomable, navigatable spaces.

What strange holiday is your birthday on?
Mine = national pink day |: \

So, Osama Walks Into This Bar, See?
This column is from last year, but it's so spot-on it's still worth it.

A page of instrumental electronic music downloads by musician Austin Bale.

El Boton
Limited edition artsy buttons.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Green Design: Designers, studios, and ad agencies that work with environmental groups and green companies

I have a reputation for working with environmental nonprofits, so I still frequently get requests to do graphic design for green groups or companies. Unfortunately, I’m usually too busy.

Sometimes they ask for referrals. So I finally compiled this list of other designers and firms that have worked with environmental groups. I’m including a few advertising and PR firms too, since green groups can almost always use some expertise in their publicity campaigns, plus those firms usually have designers on staff too, or work with freelancers.

I can’t vouch for all of these. Some of them I’ve only heard of through the grapevine, but some of them I’ve met and really been impressed by. I hope you find one you can have a fruitful relationship with.

UPDATE 11-01-08: I’ve collected some new green design resources over the past year, and I’m adding a few new design firm listings to this post. Interviews with seven of the companies listed below are available at GDUSA’s website, from “Going Green” in the October 2008 issue.

I also thought I should list some organizations and resources for designers (and clients) who are interested in sustainability issues as they pertain to the graphic design discipline:

AIGA Center for Sustainable Design


Design21 Social Design Network

Design Can Change

The Designers Accord

Graphic Alliance

UPDATE 11-28-07: Innosanto from Design Action turned me on to a few more companies that specialize in design for social change, and I found a few others on a site called renourish.

a5 Group Inc.
size: boutique
location: Chicago IL, St. Louis MO, and Grand Rapids MI
clients include: Green By Design, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency

Agami Creative
size: boutique
location: Richmond, VA
clients include: Campaign Earth, 8Jax Communications

size: boutique
location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
clients include: The Sustainability Trust, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

Another Limited Rebellion
size: boutique
location: Richmond, VA
clients include: Vegan Action, Richmond Green Party, Center for an Urban Future

Eric Benson
size: boutique
location: Champaign, IL
clients include: Whole Foods, MADD, Toyota

Big Think Studios
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Bluewater Network, San Francisco Food Bank, United Nations World Environment Day, Center for Biological Diversity

Celery Design Collective
size: boutique
location: Berkeley, CA
clients include: Elephant Pharmacy, The Natural Step, Alameda County Green Building

The Change
size: boutique
location: Chapel Hill, NC
clients include: Fair Trade Resource Network, Higher Grounds, Sierra Club

Conscious Creative
size: boutique
location: Berkeley, CA
clients include: In Defense of Animals, VegNews magazine, San Francisco Dept. of the Environment, Marin Environmental Film Festival

Core Industries
size: boutique
location: Brooklyn, NY
clients include: 1% for the Planet,, Volkswagen Carbon Neutral Project

size: boutique
location: Melbourne, AUS, and London, UK
clients include: Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenbuild Expo, The Fair Trade Company

Design Action Collective
size: boutique
location: Oakland, CA
clients include: United States Social Forum, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Craigslist Foundation, Rainforest Action Network

Design for Social Impact
size: boutique
location: Philadelphia, PA
clients include: Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania, The Nature Conservancy, Recycling Action, ForestEthics

size: boutique
location: San Francisco Bay Area
clients include: Compassionate Cooks, Terrain magazine, American Cancer Society

Digital Hive Ecological Design
size: boutique
location: San Francisco Bay Area
clients include: Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship, WholeSoy & Co., Canal Alliance, Greener World Media

size: boutique
location: Phoenix, AZ
clients include: Phoenix Department of Health and Sustainability, Earth Accents, Valley Forward EarthFest

John Emerson
size: boutique
location: New York, NY
clients include: Amnesty International, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, Human Rights Watch

Fenton Communications
size: large
location: New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
clients include: Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Marine Conservation

Fibu Design
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: National Conversation on Climate Action, PG&E ClimateSmart, Media Fund, Help America Vote Act

Firebelly Design
size: boutique
location: Chicago, IL
clients include: Sustainable Chicago, Awakening Organics, Midwest Wind Energy

Free Range Studios / Free Range Graphics
size: boutique
location: Washington, D.C.
clients include: Amnesty International, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy

Green Team
size: boutique
location: New York, NY and Tasmania, AUS
clients include: Environmental Defense, World Resources Institute, National Geographic Society

Mark Bult Design
How could I not include myself?
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Amnesty International, Anne Frank Center, Bay Area Earth Day, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

Metropolitan Group
size: boutique
location: Portland, OR
clients include: Charles Darwin Foundation, National Park Foundation, The Wetlands Conservancy

size: boutique
location: New York, NY
clients include: EarthAction Network, Not In Our Name, Good magazine, The Nation

Palatal Collective
size: boutique
location: Kansas City, MO
clients include: Pharos Project, Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Girl Scouts of Mid-America Council

Public Media Center
size: large
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Earth Island Institute, Greenpeace, Foundation for Deep Ecology, Oceanic Society

size: boutique
location: New York, NY
clients include: Ready366 only launched in February 2008, so their client roster doesn’t really include anything indicative of their focus on sustainability. I list them here with the hope that I can update this post again in the future, with real-world examples of their stated mission of helping companies make consumer brands more earth-friendly.

Rizco Design & Communications
size: boutique
location: Manasquan, NJ
clients include: Corbis, Huntington's Disease Society of America

Roughstock Studios
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: East West Herbs USA, Mission Arts Foundation, Search For Common Ground

Studio 7 Designs
size: boutique
location: Victoria, BC
clients include: PESCO Environmental Solutions, Juniper Tree, UN Golden Chapter

T-LUX Design
size: boutique
location: Los Angeles, CA
clients include: ’Licious Dishes, Pacific Edge Magazine

size: boutique
location: Oakland, CA
clients include: Natural Heritage Institute, Strategic Action for a Just Economy, Urban Strategies Council

Underground Advertising
size: boutique
location: San Francisco, CA
clients include: Environmental Defense, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Greenbelt Alliance

Vivace Design
size: boutique
location: Montreal, Quebec
clients include: Tori Amos, Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec)

Willoughby Design Group
size: boutique
location: Kansas City, MO
clients include: Hallmark, Kansas City Zoo, Women's Political Caucus, Sheridan's

Got one to add? Contact me.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buy Nothing Day

The Friday after Thanksgiving is always Buy Nothing Day. "But wait," you say, "isn't that the biggest shopping day of the year?" Exactly. That's why it's Buy Nothing Day.

Adbusters has been trying to get a major network to air it spublic service messages for years, with no luck. This year, MTV said the message "goes further than we are willing to accept on our channels." To which Adbusters replies: "Gangsta rap and sexualized, semi-naked schoolgirls are okay, but apparently not a burping pig talking about consumption." Hunh.

Watch the spot for yourself, and if you agree it's a message Americans should see, send a message to MTV. I did.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Updates to the blog

I added some links in the sidebar to some of my past posts that are popular (get a lot of in-links or referrers), or that are overlooked but potentially valuable. And a few that are just for fun. Gentle reader, please do let me know if your favorite was left out.

I also updated my Never-ending list of projects, and I predict Velma will be astonished at how many of them have seen action taken.

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Room 641A: AT&T's complicity in Bush's Orwellian America

I pass this windowless, metal-clad behemoth of a building every day. It's practically across the street from my office downtown. It's an AT&T building, but I never understood why it would have absolutely no windows. I always wondered what was inside.

A whistleblower who used to be a technician working for AT&T in this building revealed that it contains a room which is only accessible to National Security Agency (NSA) personnel, into which all communications traffic — internet and telephone — flows and is copied.

"My job was to connect circuits into the splitter device which was hard-wired to the secret room," said whistleblower Mark Klein. "And effectively, the splitter copied the entire data stream of those internet cables into the secret room — and we're talking about phone conversations, email web browsing, everything that goes across the internet."

In January 2006 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the NSA in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

The traffic routed through these secret rooms is not limited to AT&T customers, and AT&T is not the only telecom company complicit in the government's conspiracy to surveil the entirety of American civil communications. The EFF has filed briefs seeking information on similar locked rooms in facilities owned by Verizon, MCI, and others.

Coverage of Room 641A:

Washington Post: A Story of Surveillance: Former Technician 'Turning In' AT&T Over NSA Program
PBS's Frontline: Spying on the Home Front
Wired interview with Mark Klein: Spying in the Death Star: The AT&T Whistle-Blower Tells His Story
Wired: AT&T Whistle-Blower's Evidence
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Hepting v. AT&T
Wikipedia: Room 641A

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday top 5

Donate to Wikimedia Foundation
Okay, the close-up on the eyes and the creepy hand-wringing is weird, but the rest of this video is good. I'm going to talk with Velma about adding the Wikimedia Foundation to our giving list. And if you've ever used Wikipedia for anything at all, you might consider a donation too.

Also is a really cool design company with a really cool site. Jason will probably like this one. I think he should redesign his site something like this — using Flash to tell an amusing story that's also the site's navigation itself.

Julia Rothman
Julia is a partner in Also (mentioned above) and does all their illustrations. She also does really cool pattern and surface design independently of Also. And if that wasn't enough alsos, she also runs this great blog called Book By Its Cover covering artful books about comics, design, etc. (below).

Book By Its Cover

Skankin' parentin'
Who knew you could use ska as a parenting method?

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thursday top 5

A short animation from Vancouver Film School. This one's for Sage and Dakota. x D

The Russian Avante-Garde Book: 1910–1934
An online exhibit from the MoMA (New York). This one's for Olya and any people who appreciate historical art, design, and typography.

Carrier Pigeon
A well-done video podcast about all kinds of stuff, from designer Dave Werner.
Never heard of Dave Werner? He's a somewhat recent grad of the Porfolio Center. Check out his absolutely exceptional portfolio:

Barista Brat
The rants and raves of a Starbucks Barista. Fun and even informative. This link's for Jenny, who recently got a job at a small coffee place in San Francisco.

Lots of rare Bill Watterson art

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hunters Point Open Studios fall 2007

Last Sunday I went to Hunters Point Open Studios with Aaron Zonka and Olya Milenkaya. As usual, I enjoyed it a lot. I always get inspired, and usually I see a few new artists whose work I've never seen before.

Aaron and Olya, both artists, seemed to like some of the work, but their general comment was something like "I didn't see anything that really blew me away."

Remind me not to go to Open Studios with artists anymore.

Anyway, here are most of my favorite artists from this year. Of course, these little images can't do justice to seeing the real thing in three dimensions. Most of these are really tactile and the subtleties are absolutely lost when photographed and shrunken.

Ivy Jacobsen

Kim Smith

Mirang Wonne

Dennis Parlante

Thea Schrack

Derek Lynch

Carol Aust

Susan Spies

Bob Armstrong

Deborah Hayner

David Jay Trachtenberg

Peggy Snider

Patty Neal

Qi Re Ching
no website : \

And this one's for Velma...

Debra King

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Friday, November 02, 2007


Last week I returned to the office from a web design conference to learn that Webshots had been sold by CNET Networks to American Greetings Interactive.

I really didn't see this coming, so it was a slight shock to learn that my job was ending. I'll remain here through the end of January as part of a transition team that will ensure assets and knowledge get appropriately transferred to the new owners. But a few of my colleagues got two weeks notice, which was a bummer to say the least. There are severance packages and whatnot, but that only goes so far when you're suddenly out of job.

The Webshots purchase is probably a very good move for American Greetings Interactive, and maybe it's a good move for CNET Networks too. But it doesn't lessen my bad feelings that we won't be able to finish all of the projects we had planned.

That said, I'm proud of (most) of the work I've done at Webshots, I've learned a lot and worked with some great people.

So now I'm faced with the prospect of trying to figure out what to do next. There are a lot of options, among them (in no particular order):
  • Finish the transition here, then take some time off to consider my next career move
  • Go freelance again
  • Join a startup
  • Join a design firm that I respect
  • Start some other kind of company (I have a few ideas)
  • Dabble in side projects
  • Write a book or two
  • Stay at CNET Networks, at some other business unit
  • Join one of the other up-and-coming social sites, or *gasp* even a big company
  • Join some other sort of tech company
  • Go back to the nonprofit world *double-gasp*
...and others.

Now I just gotta figure out which one I really want to do. It's going to be an interesting winter.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday top 5

Novosibirsk lady owns 130 cats
This is what will undoubtedly become of Olya if she moves back to Russia again.

Darth Vader being a smartass

Hunters Point Open Studios
SF artists' studios are open on weekends from Oct 13 through November 4, but the one I look forward to every year is Hunters Point (Nov 3 and 4). Multiple buildings filled with every imaginable kind of artist. Last year I discovered a blind sculptor, among other wonderful work. Frankly, I don't think the images on this page are terribly indicative of the breadth of quality art on display, but here are some samples:

The Mae Shi "Run to Your Grave"
This is an awesome song.

Buy a decommissioned missile base
Only $1.5 million, and it comes with 57 acres of land, 16 underground buildings, and thousands of feet of connecting tunnels. Near Spokane, WA. "Honey — can we, can we, can we?"

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