The rendering of the completed Wilshire Grand Tower contrasted against Syd Mead's prediction of LA in 2013.

Happy Birthday, Syd Mead!

By | Design | No Comments

Today is Syd Mead’s birthday. You may not know his name, but you’ve definitely seen his work. Syd Mead is one of the most celebrated concept designers of our time, and has been responsible for many memorable designs – from feature films to concept cars, even exhibits and interiors. His style is lush with often-fantastical mechanized vehicles and devices or high-tech interiors offset by being placed in a natural environment. His most well known works include production design for Blade Runner, Aliens and, of course, TRON. Most recently he worked on the Matt Damon film Elysium.

In 1988, he also shared his vision of future Los Angeles (CommonGround’s home town) in the far off year of 2013, commissioned for an article in the LA Times Magazine. The article predicted a mandatory staggered work plan for Los Angeles, personalized newspapers printed by laser-jet printer, home robots with synthesized Southern drawls, school desks with built in CD-ROM’s and the staple of all predictions of the future—the computerized refrigerator. I don’t remember my home robot saying “Y’all come back now, ya here!” when I left the house this morning. Come to think of it I don’t remember having a home robot at all.

Other predictions were less tech-related. The article discussed a housing and school shortage for LA, along with new skyscrapers and urban renewal in downtown, all of which is coming to pass. The future doesn’t look quite as cool as Syd Mead’s designs predicted, perhaps, but his influence can be felt when you see giant video billboards at LA Live or a rendering of the completed Wilshire Grand Tower.

Happy Birthday, Syd! We look forward to many more years of your visionary design work.


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Frictionless Sharing: Dead or Alive?

By | Trends | No Comments

For those who don’t live and breath web design and development, frictionless sharing may be an unfamiliar term. Back in 2012, it was touted as the next big thing in the evolution of the Internet, primarily by social media giant and possible-evil-empire-in-the-making Facebook. Frictionless sharing is a process by which everything a user views is shared, not just items they select. Compared to traditional sharing, where my niece might post that she’s listening to Tegan and Sara’s hit song “Everything is Awesome,” under a frictionless sharing model every song she listens to will be shared through her social media outlets. Read More

walking dead

The Walking Dead is back!

By | Trends, Uncategorized | No Comments

No spoilers!! (We at CommonGround Creative hate spoilers.)

If you’ve missed hit-television show and gore-fest The Walking Dead as much as we have, great news – season four returns tomorrow night with the much-anticipated midseason premiere. And while we won’t spoil anything for you, Robert Kirkman and the guys at Skybound Comics have promised us that the best is yet to come for Rick and company. Or is it worst? Given where we left off, I’m assuming they meant that the worst is yet to come for our survivors, ha.

So tune in, then head over to to check out some site enhancements and new merchandise, or just to discuss your thoughts on the show.



IGN’s Museum of Mario an interesting look back.

By | Design, Just For Fun | No Comments

There’s no question that the video game industry has had huge influence on modern design. The gamers amongst us will tell you that Mario is inarguably one of the greatest video game stars of all time, rising from a simple arcade game to global mega-franchise. “IGN presents Museum of Mario” is a new website examining the 30+ year history of the world’s most famous Italian plumber, and for those of us who grew up with him, a nostalgic trip down memory lane. (Where is the minus world? How do I get there? Does it really exist at all??) Read More


Political Bridge to End Shutdown Blocked by Trolls?

By | Design, Trends | No Comments

Let me be clear upfront, this post is totally non-political. I mention this because I’m about to reference the political tsunami of our time – the government shutdown. Like many Americans, once the shutdown started I began reading news articles from more sources than I usually do, and I began to pay a little more attention to the reader responses. Comment scrolls are a relatively new innovation, and they introduce an opportunity for mature, insightful discourse. Needless to say, this opportunity is often squandered, with comment threads reading less mature or insightful than an episode of The Jersey Shore. Read More



By | Just For Fun | No Comments

Okay, I admit it, as a creative type I tend to have issues maintaining the sort of environment that would best suit creative work. Sometimes it feels like I should hire an OCD intern to file everything away in the exact best place. So, when I ran across this article on the effect of clutter I stopped to read it. If you’re already the supreme commander of the North Atlantic neat-and-tidy forces, then perhaps the section on Apple’s use of a clutter-free environment to promote sales might be of interest.

Was I truly interested in the article, or just putting off cleaning up my desk? Perhaps a little of both…


BBC makes a (pretty) mess

By | Design | No Comments

The BBC frequently uses interesting visuals throughout their family of networks. I’m not sure if this article about BBC Asian Network’s Summer of Music identity work appeals to me because it’s a really cool design idea, or because they made it by putting colored powders on top of speakers and exploding them all over the place. The end result is strikingly beautiful, though, and worth sharing. I asked my coworkers about converting a section of the office to a space where I could blow up powder bags and photograph them. They say no, or at least not until I find a client willing to pay for it.

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SciAm offers a little help to aspiring chefs.

SciAm offers a little help to aspiring chefs.

By | Just For Fun | No Comments

I cook and I’m always looking for new flavor combinations, so I was interested in this SciAm article and interactive flavor combination infographic. The “flavor map” seeks to discover new palatable combinations based on the chemical makeup of the corresponding ingredients.

Does it work? Well, after spending a few minutes playing around I discovered that it indicates that rum, citrus and almond do not go together, despite this being the flavor combo of Trader Vic’s 1946 invention, the Mai Tai, one of history’s most popular cocktails. It does, however, indicate that rum, blue cheese and sauerkraut pair very well. Huh. Thanks, scientists, but I think I’ll stick to Ina Garten, Alton Brown and Epicurious for my recipe ideas.

flavor map


The (design) world is flat

By | Design | No Comments

Our Creative Director, Aaron, is always telling us how ecstatic he is that flat design is the dominating trend in our industry. As proof, I’d point out that when I told him I was posting an article about flat design he created the above flatly-designed visual representation of flat design, ha. Anyway, I loved this article as an exploration of flat design and its historical roots. I have to wonder, though – is flat design really here to stay, as the author thinks? There seems to be a constant fluctuation between the minimalist and the ornamental, as was the case with Streamline Moderne giving way to the more flourished design aesthetics of the atomic age. So what will apps and websites look like once people get bored of flat? I suppose CommonGround’s designers should get to work figuring that out, working hard to help design evolve while maintaining our standard all-out ban on the use of the Curlz MT font.


MonkeyLectric bike lighting kit – I want these!!

By | Cool Tech | No Comments

I ran across these on Kickstarter, and I had to share this really cool new product. It’s a light kit that you attach to your bicycle’s spokes. When they spin past a certain speed, the device lights up, displaying pre-programmed images and animations. Not only does this allow you to express yourself with your own designs (for better or worse, ha), but it also makes biking a little safer, since drivers will be more apt to spot you before charging right into your lane. (Yeah, Beverly Hills drivers, I’m talking about you. Jerks.)

Check out the site, or for an more informative look at this nifty little innovation check out their kickstarter vid. Good luck guys!