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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Recent project: Poster for Tuolumne River Trust

Peter Drekmeier, Bay Area Program Director of Tuolumne River Trust, sent me the beautiful photo above and asked me a few months ago to design a poster. Peter, who is also Mayor of Palo Alto, is a longtime friend, and I’ve done many design projects for him over the past 15 years.

I did two designs and they liked this one best. I then tweaked photo a bit to bring out some detail in the shadows of the rocks. I had to crop it a bit so I had someplace to put the logo, with enough of the water emphasized in the frame. I wish that one barren treetop wasn’t spearing the typography, but I tried cropping it several other ways and it only worked like this.

The photo is by Ken Mendoza, who has a few gems over at

[View a larger version]

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Russian goth wedding
[via OffBeatBride]

Free Social Network Icon Pack
Well-designed icons.

Laura Stec’s Cool Cuisine
Not sure if “How to chow an onion” is relevant to global warming, but it’s a good how-to for the cooking novices like me anyway.

In case you need to rent a robot.

10 Things I Hate About Commandments

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.

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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.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Grupo Falso Baiano
My pal Jesse’s group plays choros, a Brazilian style of music popularized in the 1920s and ’30s. They play classic songs plus modern songs in the choros style, including a version of the Super Mario theme. They happen to be playing in Berkeley tonight, if you’re in those parts: Thursday, August 13 (8 to 11pm), at Anna's Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley; $14 cover. They’re also playing a free lunchtime concert on Monday, Aug 17, at 101 California Street, San Francisco, noon to 1pm. Preview a few songs here, including “Irmãos Super Mario,” or check their site for more info or to buy their CD.

STFU, Marrieds
“Married couples on Facebook with their inane status updates and wall posts are the bane of my internet existence. Seriously, marrieds. STFU.” While I detect a whiff of jealousy here, the examples on this blog are indeed pretty over the top in ridiculous lovey-dovey-ness and inane insecurity.

Ray Charles, “Ring of Fire”
Ray Charles doing Johnny Cash. Absolutely awesome. [via BoingBoing]

The goats are smiling
Doug Fine’s off-the-grid lifestyle experiment has been covered on NPR and BoingBoingTV, and has spawned a book, Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living. [via BoingBoing]

The weekly Thursday Top 5 lists the five most 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.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Mayor Peter Drekmeier

I’m a bit late reporting this, so I assume most people who’d care will have already heard, but for any of my far-flung readers who hadn’t already heard: Peter Drekmeier was elected mayor of Palo Alto early this year. Palo Alto’s mayor is elected from the ranks of the city council by his/her peers. Peter was elected by the public to the City Council in 2006, and he served as vice mayor last year.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Peter for 15 years, since first redesigning the official international 1990 Earth Day logo for 1993’s Bay Area Earth Day. I did a lot of designs for Peter, Earth Day, and Bay Area Action (BAA) over the years, and he later asked me to join BAA’s council (their term for the board of directors). After BAA’s merger with the PCCF in 2000, Peter returned to the newly-renamed organization, Acterra, to be co-executive director, and he told me that one of his goals was to hire me full-time. It took a couple years, but it happened. I was grateful, since it was at the time the closest thing I’d ever had to what would have been my ideal job.

While I don’t get to work with him or see him all that much anymore (now that I live in San Francisco), we do get to work together occasionally still: I designed a logo for him a couple months ago, and did most of his campaign materials when he was first running for Palo Alto City Council in 2005. Of course, Peter was also our officiant at Mark & Velma’s Hitchin’.

If you still live in Palo Alto you may be interested in listening to Peter’s State of the City Address, given March 9, 2009, and available as streaming QuickTime audio from the Community Media Center. Not surprisingly, if you know Peter, he talks quite a bit about the environmental challenges facing Palo Alto, surrounding communities, and the nation.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Carolyn Davis Catering
My friend Carolyn Davis (née Peters) has a new website, and although I didn’t design it, I heartily approve of its design: it’s great. Carolyn’s a fantastic chef, I’ve seen her at work at events she was catering and I can attest to her team’s excellence and her culinary brilliance as well. Hire her!

A Glimpse Ahead
Courtesy of Microsoft Labs. A lot of these technologies and interfaces are actually already in development and there are even some real-world working examples of some of them. I expect we’ll see quite a few of these in the next five to ten years. [1:54 min]

Maker Profile: Kinetic Wave Sculptures
Freakin’ cool. [10:41 min]

Extreme Sheep LED Art
I think some of this might have been digitally manipulated, but it’s pretty funny nonetheless. [2:45 min]

Ursula K. Le Guin’s work still resonates with readers
Pretty Good Los Angeles Times article.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Thursday Top 5

Youngme Nowme
A thread full of photos of people posed the same way, then and now.

Think Taste — Not Waste!
My friend Laura Stec is featured on MSN’s Health & Fitness channel in this article and short video. She shows a quick tip for making soup stock from the detritus of your cooking chores, using mushroom stalks, pepper “skeletons,” carrot peelings, and more. This “food waste,” which you might otherwise throw in the garbage, causes our nation’s landfills to output more harmful methane (a climate-disruptive greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide) than all the livestock in the U.S. Buy Laura Stec’s book, it’s great!

San Francisco Bay Model
Velma and I were thinking of going to see this last weekend since we were going to explore Sausalito a bit, but it’s only open until 4pm on Saturdays, so it’ll have to be another trip. The walk-through hydraulic model takes up two buildings and is apparently the size of two football fields. According to the guy in the video, it was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1950s to test an idea they had to dam the bay. I once saw an old map of another Army Corps concept they had in the ’50s or ’60s, to fill the entire bay with landfill except for a narrow shipping channel. Communities could then build all the way into the middle of the bay. I shudder to think of the Bay Area we would live in today if that had been allowed to happen. [3:51min] More about the Bay Model (yes, their site is awful).

Neverland on the Block: Inside the Michael Jackson Auction
Michael Jackson’s Neverland is going up for auction. Rolling Stone has pictures of some of the creepy stuff for sale.

Interview with sci-fi author John Scalzi
I really enjoyed his book The Ghost Brigades, and I really enjoyed this interview too. It starts with this intro by interviewer Jason Henninger: “John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War took me by surprise. I picked up the book because I’d heard a lot of good things about him and decided I’d give it a one-page tryout. Either he’d grip me right away or I’d drop it. Twenty pages later I realized I hadn’t moved from the spot. OK, John. Grip achieved.”

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

*tap*tap* Hello? Is this thing on?

Just wondering if anyone’s out there.

Since Ynnej has moved to a farm and Olya is in the outback, I expected to hear less from my readers, but it’s been so quiet around here for so many months, I’m wondering if this here journal has any readers left at all.

I haven’t heard from readers like Brian, Kathy, Jen, Will, Yuliya, or even Mr. Crack, in eons.

Leave me a comment if you’re out there. It’s lonely in here.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

A 2008 holiday gift for our friends and family

Velma and I decided to do something a little different this year. Happy holidays to you and yours.

This mini-site took me about 2.5 days for design, about 2 days for coding. I hope you enjoy it.

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Friday, November 14, 2008


I spent much of this week coding and testing a new site for my friend (and client) Diane Choplin.

Diane is a longtime friend whom I met through BAA, where she was the coordinator of the Schools Group for a year or so. These days she directs the documentary photography program at SF’s Academy of Art.

I bought Diane her first domain years ago as a gift, and put up a rather rudimentary gallery featuring some of her photos from her time in the Peace Corps in Niger. We’d both neglected the site ever since, but a few months ago we decided to do something about it.

While I’d been working on the designs here and there for a few months, we had a mad rush to finish this week as Diane was applying for a fellowship and had a deadline. So the site was built entirely in the last week and a half, using Photoshop, Lightroom, SlideShowPro, Soundslides, Dreamweaver, and W3C-compliant XHTML Strict and CSS.

It’s not completely finished. There are always some loose nails to be nailed down (although I’m just happy it validates and works in all the major browsers), Diane didn’t have time to finish some of the galleries yet, we need to tweak some little things in SlideShowPro, there’s a Discussion section to be added later, and the whole thing needs to be converted to Wordpress.

But it was done (enough) for her deadline, and all the pages but one validate. The one that doesn’t contains some poorly generated code from Soundslides, the Flash app she used to make her multimedia slideshow (their fault, not Diane’s), so I’ll have to fix that later.

Let me know what you think of Leave a comment.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peace One Day

Through LinkedIn I learned that BAA Schools Group alum Megan O’Grady Greene is working for London-based nonprofit Peace One Day.

From the website: “In 1999 filmmaker Jeremy Gilley decided to try and establish the first ever Day of Peace with a fixed calendar date. In September 2001 the Member States of the United Nations unanimously adopted the first-ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence — Peace Day, 21 September.”

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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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