Los Angeles Metro Rail Map

By | Design | No Comments

I’ve always liked maps, ever since I was nine, when one spring afternoon we discovered a world map from 1917 in a building my father’s company was helping renovate. I recall poring over that map endlessly, comparing it to a contemporary one and wondering about the disappearance of the Ottoman Empire and addition of the Soviet Union. Urban metro maps aren’t quite as exciting, but they’re still pretty cool, and in a way they stand as the original “infographics,” visually representing important information in a manner that’s useful and intuitive.

When LA Metro released their latest “under construction” map, I had to check it out. There’s just something fun and fractal about it. Comparing the additions to the system over time reminds me of the way new plants in our garden grow in. And the fact that LA Metro put the planned future stations for the purple line on the map is reassuring – granted it may take thirty years to complete, but I really look forward to someday taking the subway from downtown to the beach.


Responding to Responsive

By | Development | No Comments

Our Project Manager, Xander, has a lot to say about responsive design – the ability to have your design adjust visually to different display sizes. Our clients almost all want it, knowing how many users have moved over to mobile devices, especially tablets. This article on responsive development solutions is interesting, and helped me better understand the challenges that our programmers face every time we ask about responsive. They always groan, but we just keep on asking – responsive is here to stay.


Washington State Designs Legal Marijuana Logo

By | Design | No Comments

Agree or disagree, shifts in public policy often create unique design challenges. Voters in Washington State recently legalized marijuana, leaving state legislators with the task of determining regulations. Where to start? In a move very appropriate to the digital age, they began with a logo, which will soon be used to label legal marijuana-related products. From a design perspective, it definitely visually conveys “Washington” and “marijuana.” And I have to wonder – given how much was produced there when it was illegal, are they also trying to subliminally recommend how much area in the state they’d like to set aside for pot farms?

logo tattoos 2

Ugh. Corporate logo tattoos? I repeat: ugh.

By | Trends | No Comments

Okay, so we’ve designed company logos, obviously, and we’ve even occasionally undertaken the task of designing tattoo art. But I’m not sure we’ve ever designed a logo thinking it might someday serve as a tattoo. This story falls soundly into the “disturbing” category for me – getting inked with the name of a significant other can be a tremendous show of affection, if not one often later regretted, but being permanently labeled with your company’s logo? No thanks – this feels a little less like brand identity and a little too much like cattle branding. As if corporate America doesn’t already feel far too comfortable thinking of their employees as property.


The New York Times Imagines the Futuristic World of 1998(ish)

By | Trends | No Comments

It’s fun to imagine what the future holds. When Disneyland opened in 1955, Tomorrowland envisioned the world of 1986, although we have to assume that Walt Disney knew that the park’s portrayal of the future was somewhat fantastical. The linked article from a 1982 edition of The New York Times details a slightly more realistic look at the world of tomorrow from that point in time, although some of the conclusions read about as fantastical as mountain-sized spaceships or tourism to the moon. Amongst some of the predictions: A rise in videotex terminals! The fall of the American two-party political system and rise of hundreds of political parties! Massive privacy issues! (Okay, so they got that one right.)

It’s a fascinating read, and before we poke too much fun maybe we should write our own article on what the world of 2033 will look like.



Ha…High Design AND Game of Thrones – Win/Win

By | Design | No Comments

Within the company we have on ongoing (sometimes heated) debate about whether HBO’s Game of Thrones is great television or utter nonsense. I’ll stay out of that conversation completely, but I was totally entranced by the website, a graphic tribute to the hit show. If you’re a fan – or even if you’re not – the site presents an impressive homage to the hit series.

1977 Star Wars logo

Attention SciFi and Design Geeks!

By | Just For Fun | No Comments

We’ve attended San Diego Comic-Con as a company for several years, and I’ve learned that there’s not much about Star Wars that hasn’t been discussed, debated then discussed some more in excruciating depth. But usually these conversations are about who shot first or who would win in a Death Star / USS Enterprise showdown. This really well-written and documented article examines the Star Wars logo, taking a fascinating look back at the evolution of the now-iconic centerpiece to the Star Wars brand.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


MoMA in New York Acquires 14 Video Games

By | Design | No Comments

We know video games are big business, the industry’s annual profits adding up to more than movies, television and music combined. But MoMA recently lent credit to the idea that they’re art too, acquiring 14 titles for their collection. At CommonGround Creative, we know full well how much effort goes into the design of a great game, so we appreciate the recognition of the work as an art form. And given that we played most of those titles in our childhood, we also appreciate them being included in a museum of modern art, and not the natural history museum.


Hailpixel – Highly Engaging

By | Design | No Comments

Our designers are always working up color schemes for new sites and apps, and it always seems like the most controversial aspect of any project. Aaron Harvey, our Creative Director, loves “warm” palettes, while our Project Manager, Xander Brennan, prefers cool blues and purples. And they both claim all I ever see is green, as in “let’s stop discussing this color palette because it’s costing us a fortune in design time.” Ha.

A new site,, makes creating a color palette simple, interactive and somehow highly engaging. Ah, hailpixel, you make me feel like I am fun again. (I’ve been trying to work a Cure reference into the blog for weeks…there it is!)