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, September 17, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Public acceptance of evolution
A sobering and shameful look at our backward nation.

Who makes the paper grade?
In a new report card from ForestEthics and the Dogwood Alliance, FedEx Office and Office Depot get high marks for avoiding paper from endangered and controversial sources while, Costco, Target, and others get D and F grades. Download the report card here, or read an article about it from

Google Earth Tour of Sierra Pacific Industries’ clearcuts in California’s forests
Do you know where the town of Arnold, CA, is? Media coverage of logging in California died down a decade ago, and most people don’t realize the clearcuts have been going on ever since. “I wake up at night at 3:30, hearing the logging trucks and knowing what’s happening,” says Arnold resident Susan Robinson. “It makes me sick...I’m the daughter of a forester myself. I am not anti-logging. SPI [Sierra Pacific Industries] should be able to log its land. But it shouldn’t have the right to obliterate everything.” [from an article in the SFBG: “The Harshest Cut”]

Okay, those first three were a little depressing, so here are a couple more light-hearted selections:

NightLife at the Cal Academy of Sciences
“Every Thursday, the Academy is transformed into a lively venue filled with music, provocative science, mingling, and cocktails, for visitors 21 and older. Activities and performers change week to week.” Tonight (September 17) features my friend Laura Stec, among others. NightLife takes place every Thursday from 6 to 10pm; tickets are $12 ($10 for Academy members).

Hungry kitty [via Jason]

The weekly Thursday Top 5 lists the five most notable, interesting, funny, outrageous, cool, or simply strange things of the week. It is intended for distractionary purposes only. Do not take orally. If ingested, seek a doctor’s advice. If you like it, share it with others, or check out the long list of previous entries.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Notes from AIGA Compostmodern 2007 (part 2)

Last January I attended Compostmodern 2008, a green design conference presented by the AIGA SF.

I’ve already written about Boisset Family Estates and DeLoach Wines (“The environmental impact of the wine industry”), and CleanWell hand sanitizer and soap (“An alternative to normal antibacterial soaps”) (which I use and heartily endorse), but I hadn’t had time to write up some of my other notes and impressions.

My pocket journal (an ultra-thin Moleskine) is where I jot down such things while I’m out and about. My electronic journal (this here blog yer lookin’ at) is where I save those things for posterity, and share them with others. So here are a few ideas I heard speakers talking about, which made impressions on me:

Self-Indulgent Design
Designers practicing “self-indulgent design” is equal to driving a Hummer. Examples: Elaborate, unnecessarily long brochures, annual reports, and the like which often contain just three words per page and use fluorescent or metallic inks, plastic sleeves, and other wasteful and nearly impossible to recycle materials.

Low Rate of Paper Recycling
Still only 50% of paper is collected for recycling, and whether all of that actually gets recycled or not is another story. Yet 35% of the waste going to landfills is still paper! C’mon people! I can hardly believe that it’s still so difficult for people to just have two separate containers near their desk, and to be mindful of which one gets garbage and which one gets paper. This is not rocket science. A child can do it. And often, children do it way better than adults.

Electronic Design is Wasteful Too
One big eye-opener for me was something I already knew, but that I hadn’t really processed completely (or maybe I just didn’t want to admit it to myself): Web designers aren’t really polluting and wasting less than print designers. We think of the web and electronic design as a more pure and less wasteful design process, bypassing the pesky problem of deforestation for the pulping of our paper and the nasty chemicals used in the printing process. But in fact, always-on web servers and storage for videos, PDFs, and other files is not free. Servers = energy consumption = oil drilling, coal burning, even *yikes* nuclear energy (and waste). And let’s not forget that servers and hard drives go bad within a few years, all those cellphones and other nifty electronic devices we’re designing iApps for become some Third World country’s e-waste problem (and those countries’ poverty, environmental, and health problems eventually become our problem).

And here are a few links to things I heard about or saw at the conference:
PG&E started a huge publicity campaign a year or so ago under the laudable banner of “Let’s Green This City.” A group of citizens has formed the Green Guerrillas Against Greenwash to unmask the $10 million publicity campaign as mere greenwashing, and offers San Franciscans an alternative in the form of Proposition H.
An independent (not owned or sponsored by any paper companies) database of information that designers and printers can use to specify paper stocks. It’s a paid service ($19.95/mo. or $158.40/yr.), and I haven’t paid for it, so I don’t know how good it is. They have some free paper, printing, and environmental information available too, but you can’t access the paper database without paying for membership.

Encyclopedia of Life is a new project that intends to harness crowdsourcing techniques to create a vast online resource of information about the Earth’s 1.8 million known species.

The Designers Accord
“A global coalition of designers, educators, researchers, engineers, and corporate leaders, working together to create positive environmental and social impact.” I joined earlier this year.

Core77 / BusinessWeek Design Directory
I’d seen a couple times before, but hadn’t bothered to list myself until this year. In participation with the Designers Accord, you can search the directory exclusively for firms/individuals who have certified that they’ve adopted the accord.

Freedom of the Press
In the gallery I observed a single display copy of Freedom of the Press, a newsprint publication by Brian Ponto and Lindsay Ballant. In excellent culture-jamming style, in 2004 they commandeered newspaper racks in New York and inserted their own newspaper with stark observations on American politics and how Americans get their news.
A satirical nod acknowledging how many people (including me) view carbon trading: “Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and not cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.”

Compostmodern 2009
Saturday, February 21
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Two upcoming conferences

I'm looking forward to these two conferences coming to San Francisco next month: An Event Apart happens October 4 and 5, and the Voices that Matter Web Design Conference happens October 22–25. I'll be heading to both.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Maker Faire and the Alternative Press Expo (part 1)

Two of the coolest things I went to in the past few months were the Maker Faire and the Alternative Press Expo. Take my advice: Put both of these events on your calendar for next year!

The Maker Faire is a big fair for DIY gadget enthusiasts. There were some great things to see, including a guy who figured out how to made his own Segway and a massive city made entirely of Legos. But I'll let this CNET Crave video do the talking.

At the Alternative Press Expo I bought a big stack of comics, books, graphic novels, and artwork. I missed this event last year and I'm really glad I got to go this year. It was fantastic and very inspiring. One of the best parts is that, unlike the bigger Wondercon at Moscone, most of the tables are manned (personed?) by the artists themselves. So I ended up seeing my old friend Lloyd Dangle of Troubletown fame (a comic you've probably seen in your local alternative newsweekly), and met a bunch of other fantastic artists. Oh, and I also went to the panel featuring Bryan Lee O'Malley, creator of the Scott Pilgrim series that I enjoyed so much last year.

The stuff I got this year

"God Made Dirt, and Dirt Don't Hurt"
A really cool DVD and booklet of awesome artwork by David Lee and the Triplewide Design Collective.

Restitution Press
An awesome silkscreened booklet by the guys at Restitution Press, and a signed print by one of the artists, Ryan Graff.
Their domain seems to have been recently taken over by a newspaper, but their MySpace page (sorry) is still up. You can also see some pictures of their work in this Flickr set.

"Tea Club"
Signed by the artist, Phuong-Mai Bui-Quang (a.k.a. PMBQ). Plus a custom PMBQ illustration of a panda wearing headphones and eating toast (also signed).

"Lava Punch: First Launch"
I bought the zine from Bay Area artist Jillian Ogle, who also did a custom illustration inside it for me.

Scott Pilgrim
I got Bryan Lee O'Malley to sign my copies of "Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life" and "Lost at Sea." Scott Pilgrim was my favorite find in the past couple years. It's hilarious. But I fully expect the series to take forever to wrap up, since the third book was delayed by many months, and I just get a sense from O'Malley that getting things done is, for him, kind of like pulling teeth.

Lloyd Dangle, who I first met around fifteen years ago during my volunteer time with the Graphic Artists Guild's NorCal Chapter, signed copies of his Troubletown books "Told You So" and "Funky Hipster Trash."

Optic Nerve
I got a good deal on Adrian Tomine's "Optic Nerve" issues 1-7 and 9-11 (I have no idea why they didn't have #8).

"Wet Moon 2: Unseen Feet"
I'd bought the first book by Ross Campbell a year ago or so, and the second one just came out recently. A couple freebies came with "Wet Moon": "The Damned" by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, and "Maintenance" by Jim Massey and Robbi Rodriguez.

Sean Seamus McWhinny
Velma got two comics: "Diary of a Catering Whore" and "Head Trip: by Sean Seamus McWhinny.

I bought a three-book series called "Runoff" from an artist named Tom Manning (signed). I read the first one on my trip to Boston, and it was really good. I'm taking the other two to Missouri next week. Apparently the director of "Pan's Labyrinth" is considering making a movie from the comics.

"The ACME Novelty Library: Volume 17"
I love Chris Ware's work. So I finally bought this.

"Fleet Street Scandal: Volume One"
Artists Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham both signed this book for me, plus a print of Kevin's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" artwork. This book is swaaaank.

Monster Sex
A set of "Monster Sex" cards/prints by the splendid illustrator Jen Wang. I should've gotten her to sign the cool red envelope they come in, but she seemed pretty busy with other customers and I was on a schedule by that point, hurriedly trying to see the entire last aisle quickly because Velma was waiting to leave.

That's all just the stuff I bought. You should see the stack of postcards and samples I have! In the next installment Part 2 below, I'll feature even more cool art.

Part 2: The stuff I saw

Update June 2008: Okay, I've had this list for a year and never set aside enough time to grab some images for it, but today I decided it was finally time. Here are the other artists and things I saw at APE 2007. I'm looking forward to APE 2008, coming this fall.

Daniel M. Davis
An Arizona artist with two books of cute monster illustrations and a website with lots of good tips for other cartoonists and self-publishers.

Pandoras Trunk
A cooperative art boutique and gallery in the Haight. Artist Nome Edonna's work pictured here.

Cartoonists With Attitude
A group of social commentary and political cartoonists. Barry Deutsch is one of the contributors, whose Hereville webcomic is pictured above ("Possibly the best comic about a troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl you'll read all week.").

Masheka Wood
A Brooklyn, NY, comic artist who debuted his first book, "Deep Doodle," at the expo.

A Comic a Day
A blog that reviews a new issue of a different comic book series every day.

Scott Campbell
I like this guy's rough little creatures and the organic look of his art.

Nicolette Davenport
She's got some incredible style range. Be sure to check out her sketch blog.

Christopher Tupa
Another guy with amazing range.

New Year Designs
Cute, simple, announcements and cards.

Kelvin Nguyen
Another artist with a broad range of talent.

Gallery 1988
A gallery featuring emerging artists; there's one in SF and one in LA. Artwork by Wenchin Lee and Nanami Cowdroy pictured above.

Panel Press
A New Mexico indie comic publisher. I mostly just really liked their business card.

Sarah Becan
A graphic designer and artist who also does comics.

Strip Tease
A webcomic I hadn't seen before.

Michael Paulus
Interesting artist who works in myriad media. You may have seen his series of cartoon character skeletons.

Ben Walker
I really like his style, and his site's pretty cool too.

Mikhaela Reid
Female political cartoonist.

Papercutter and Tugboat Press
Portland-based indie publisher.

Some other stuff I saw...

Stumptown Comics Fest
Portland, Oregon's annual comics fair.

Rooftop Comedy
Stand-up comedy clips.

Raised by Squirrels

Kirt Burdick

Labels: , , , , , , ,