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, April 16, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Making of a logo
Designer Brian Potstra walks us through the making of a logo in this Flickr set.

“Black Betty” by Ram Jam
Ahh, the ’70s. The good ol’ days when you could make a legitimate song out of a dozen or so otherwise totally unrelated riffs.

Digg introduced a new feature two weeks ago and it’s brilliantly executed. The ability to easily make a shortURL is awesome. Watch this short video for an explanation, or go here to see it in action.

Rapping flight attendant
“You will not get that on United Airlines, I guarantee you.”

Friday the 12th
Epic disappointment.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


We went to Seattle last weekend to attend the wedding of our friends Patty and Rich, who met in Seattle but actually live in the Bay Area now. We stayed with our friends Chris and Jana, who used to live in the Bay Area but have since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood, actually). Are you confused yet?

The wedding was an opportunity for Velma to see some old college friends she doesn’t get to see very often. Rich was one of Velma’s best friends in college, and they were part of the swing dancing scene in St. Louis, and later in the Bay Area.

Velma and I used to work in the same building as Jana, and Chris and Jana asked us to be the photographers for their wedding a few years back, in a park in the South Bay. They’ve since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood), and were kind enough to put us up and show us around a bit too (I haven’t been to Seattle in over a decade). Not to mention picking us up and dropping us off at the airport! Friends can be awesome, can’t they?

We spent most of our time in the Fremont District and Queen Anne, and Jana and Velma spent a solid chunk of time in World Spice downtown, behind Pike Place.

Here are a few of the places/things I enjoyed in/around Seattle:

Eat Local
A cool organic café and grocery on Queen Anne Avenue N. They use local ingredients and make small batches that are perfect for couples or individuals to pick up on their way home. They also brew Stumptown Coffee.

Nikki McClure
Nikki McClure makes extraordinarily beautiful papercut illustrations in a woodcut-like style. You may have seen her calendars or notecards, or recognize her work from books or magazines. We came across a whole bunch of her work (including a few framed originals, which are fascinating to look at up close) in the above-mentioned Eat Local shop, since she illustrated all their product labels.

Update: Nikki has a show, “Vote for Survival,” coming to Needles and Pens on October 10. Needles and Pens is a really cool zine and DIY shop on 16th Street near Delores.

Smart Monkey Recycled Yarn & Knitwear
Leah Andersson recycles/reuses old thrift store sweaters into rehabbed yarn and new knitted items. I saw her booth at the Fremont Sunday Market.

Destee Nation Shirt Company
Chris took us to his favorite T-shirt shop. I really liked several of the designs, but since my travel bags were pretty stuffed and I didn’t want to spend much money on this trip, I decided I’d wait and maybe purchase from their website later.

Revival Ink
I saw this artist’s tees and hoodies at a boutique in Queen Anne and at the Fremont Sunday Market too. I liked two or three of the prints a lot, and would’ve bought one of the hoodies, but while they’re a more earth-friendly 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, they have those terribly cheap zippers that seem to jam within a month of use.

Another of Chris’s faves, this shop features some exquisite artisan chocolates from around the world, and has free samples out all day.

Hollywood Schoolhouse
This is where the wedding was held, a lovely but slightly quirky historical building. The 1912 brick structure hosts lots of weddings and banquets, and has some interesting decorations.

Gas Works Park
This 19-acre park is on the site of a former coal-powered gas and oil plant, acquired by the city in the ’60s and opened to the public in 1975. Right on Lake Union, in the middle of Seattle, the park features stunning vistas of downtown and the lakeside portions of the city (Velma, Jana, and Chris pictured above, enjoying the view).

Since we were only a block away, we simply had to stop and see the 16-foot bronze statue of Lenin in the Fremont. Olya had told me about this (appropriately enough) a couple years ago; I hadn’t seen it when I visited Seattle my first time. If you have a spare quarter-million bucks, you can buy Comrade Lenin for your yard. He’s for sale.

The Fremont Troll
The other thing I hadn’t seen last time was the famous Troll. Somehow Holly and I entirely missed the Fremont neighborhood, although we squeezed in practically everything else in our three-day vacation about a decade ago.

World Spice Merchants
This popular spot behind Pike Place Market occupied Velma and Jana so long I had to walk around outside because the strong smells were becoming too much for my allergies. Most interesting to me was the Mongolian tea brick, actual bricks of tea which in the past were broken up to use as currency.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday top 5+1

Chuck Norris approved
Well, now I know who I'm voting for.

Pierre Henry "Psyché Rock"
Listen for the origin of the "Futurama" theme song.

Jim Houser interview
A typically conversational Fecal Face interview with illustrator Jim Houser. The best part is the ton of pictures of his home/workspace.

The Small Stakes
I have this Death Cab for Cutie shirt I really like, and it was designed by Jason Munn, who has churned out some amazing posters and designs over the past five years from his Oakland studio.

Consumer Consequences
An interactive game that asks, "What would the world look like if everyone lived like me?" You may have played games like this before (sometimes it's more like a quiz), but this one is notable in that it allows you to compare your answers at the end to other people's, including some American Public Media personalities. Thanks to Ynnej for the link.

"Here's to San Francisco Values!"
By a certain Julia.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Everything has an environmental impact

I try to reduce my footprint, but I know I can do more. We can all do more — always — even the most eco-conscious of us.

I recently read "Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry," in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a peer-reviewed journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and it made me think.
Globalization has made it possible to produce clothing at increasingly lower prices, prices so low that many consumers consider this clothing to be disposable. Some call it "fast fashion," the clothing equivalent of fast food.
Some things I knew, some other I didn't:
  • Polyester, the most widely used manufactured fiber, is made from petroleum.
  • The manufacture of polyester and other synthetic fabrics is an energy-intensive process requiring large amounts of crude oil and releasing emissions including volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and acid gases such as hydrogen chloride, all of which can cause or aggravate respiratory disease.
  • Cotton, one of the most popular and versatile fibers, accounts for a quarter of all the pesticides used in the United States.
  • Fierce global competition in the garment industry translates into poor working conditions for many laborers in developing nations.
  • Some Chinese textile workers make as little as 12–18 cents per hour, according to the U.S. National Labor Committee.
  • Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year, and clothing and other textiles represent about 4% of the municipal solid waste, according to the EPA. And this figure is rapidly growing.

There are rays of hope:
  • The U.S. government offers tax incentives for citizens who donate household goods to charities such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries, which salvage a portion of clothing and textiles that would otherwise go to landfills or incinerators.
  • Shopping at these kinds of stores is increasing — a 2006 survey conducted by America's Research Group, a consumer trends research firm, found that about 12–15% of Americans shop at consignment or resale stores.
  • The Council for Textile Recycling estimates that 2.5 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste is collected for resale, and thus prevented from entering directly into landfills.
  • The International Standards Organization (ISO) is developing standards for a labeling system to identify garments that meet criteria as environmentally friendly.
  • While it still only represents 0.03% of worldwide cotton production, the sale of organic cotton fiber grew by an estimated 22.7% in 2004, over the previous year, according to the Organic Trade Association.
  • Sales of organic cotton women's clothing grew by a healthy 33% in 2004.
  • In 2004, Wal-Mart, America's largest retailer, began selling organic cotton women's shirts at its Sam's Club stores. Today the company is the world's largest buyer of organic cotton, offering several lines of organic cotton apparel.
  • Patagonia has been selling fleece clothing made from postconsumer plastic soda bottles since 1993. The company estimates that between 1993 and 2006 it saved 86 million soda bottles from ending up in the landfill.
Read the full article...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Small world

I'm wearing my Cicero's Pizza T-shirt today at work and I had three people in the space of about two hours say they knew Cicero's. Pretty funny, considering A) I've worn this shirt at work many times and that's never happened even once, and B) Cicero's is like 50 miles from here.

Turns out they all grew up down in the same are where I did and all knew this Cupertino institution.

But it gets weirder... It turns out that one of the coworkers who knew Cicero's is married to a guy I went to grade school with! Totally small world. Or at least a small Bay Area.

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