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There’s this guy in our office who doodles weird stuff. Pretty funny and awesome. Hide your Trapper Keepers!

hand drawn, Illustration, life
December 4, 2014 at 10:00 am Twitter Twitter
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Here’s a quick taste of the knickknacks, thingamajigs and whatnots that inspire us every day.

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December 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm Twitter Twitter
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Don’t just throw away those cable bills and credit card pre-approvals, many junk mail envelopes are hiding some of the raddest patterns we’ve ever seen!

Meant to conceal sensitive information traveling by snail mail, these wild designs have made their way into our mailboxes. So we collected them, ripped them open and scanned them for your viewing pleasure.

There are probably some patterns waiting for you right now, so start diggin’ through that junk mail and letter rip!

abstract, color
September 11, 2014 at 11:58 am Twitter Twitter
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Here in the office, we’ve been having a lot of fun with Google Maps recently. Its (fairly) new 3D feature creates some truly creepy and surreal images when partially loaded. So we scoured the digital globe and started screenshottin’ away. We’ve taken a few of our favorites and created a series of new ‘old’ photographs.

See if you can match these eerie pictures with their real world locations.

abstract, nostalgia, photography
August 22, 2014 at 12:59 pm Twitter Twitter
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Badges, badges, badges! We do need some stinkin’ badges!

We’ve always loved the style and variety of vintage bicycle badges so we’ve collected a bunch of our favorites. From simple typography to outlandish detail to the pitch perfect illustrations, these badges are probably the prettiest thing you’ll find on two wheels.

Ride hard, ride fast, design sweet badges!

badges, bicycles, color, typography
July 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm Twitter Twitter
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One of our fellow interns, Amber Schmitzer took some wild, bizarre shots of fireworks in Dripping Springs, Texas. These images were an attempt to reanimate the energy of the fireworks by capturing them in movement, color, and life, similar to the paintings done by Jackson Pollock.

abstract, color, Fireworks, Painting, photography
July 15, 2014 at 10:11 am Twitter Twitter
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Say Mac! Have a look see at this swell vintage advertising typography. It was all excavated from Zach’s collection of old Saturday Evening Posts and Boys Life magazines, which were originally his great grandmothers from the 1930s. There’s a couple of real doozys here!

color, Documentary, Ephemera, hand drawn, Illustration, logos, Noastalgia, typography
October 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm Twitter Twitter
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Last July, our very own Ptarmakian, Jake Rutherford, traveled to rural and urban slums of Western Kenya to document Christian Relief Fund’s (CRF) relief/aid work for orphans–orphans mostly effected by or infected with AIDs/HIV.

This post highlights a tiny sliver of our favorite images from Jake’s journey, specifically, environmental portraits of men, women and children who are primarily connected with CRF’s slum orphanages of Western Kenya. Every image comes with a story, usually heartbreaking and endearing–potent with questions, emotions and insight.

Images made in:
Kissumu, Eldoret, Bongoma/Eruli
Western Kenya
Summer 2012

Photographs by Jake Rutherford

Documentary, life, photography, Travel
July 8, 2013 at 11:50 am Twitter Twitter
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The third installment of inspiring vintage QSL cards (post cards sent to and from amateur radio operators) passed down from my grandfather, who collected them during his days in the golden age of radio. Big things are in the works for these little guys soon!

Ephemera, hand drawn, nostalgia, QSL cards, radio, stamps, typography
May 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm Twitter Twitter
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Spring is here, no doubt. As winter departs us, we wanted to give a nod to Old Man Winter.

These images, captured in the thick of a blizzard on the TX Panhandle, parade the fierce bleakness and chilling tenacity of the season. The panhandle plains—a medium eager to exhibit winter’s subduing might.

Goodbye winter.

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March 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm Twitter Twitter
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We’re so proud to have been a part of the the world’s largest natural and organic products tradeshow, Natural Products Expo West 2013, last week in Anaheim, California. It was truly a mesmerizing experience of the senses, with over 3000 exhibits from over 1,800 different companies showcasing their latest and greatest in natural and organic products. We were fortunate enough to have collaborated with the fine folks below as they launched new products, new brand identities and made or recaptured their presence within the industry. Many props to them for trusting their guts and doing what comes naturally.

Our Collaborations
Beanitos: Branding + Packaging + Website + Booth Design
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods: Branding + Packaging
Sambazon: Packaging + Booth Support
Stretch Island Fruit Company: Branding + Packaging + Booth Design
Kashi: Booth Design
Bear Naked: Branding + Packaging + Booth Design

color, logos, Natural Products, Packaging, typography
March 13, 2013 at 2:16 pm Twitter Twitter
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I’ve recently been on an old-timey movie kick and decided to watch Citizen Kane, a movie lauded as the greatest film of all time, to see if the claims were true. And by jove! It struck a chord! What a fantastical display of amazingly composed images! It’s no wonder it’s such a landmark in film.

Here are a few stills from the movie to remind you of its greatness.

Ephemera, life, motion, Movies, typography
February 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm Twitter Twitter
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It has been some time since we put up a blog post. What better way to announce our return to blogdom then by paying homage to the great Masters of the Universe.

Wow. It’s hard to believe these are antiques now! For some reason I could never throw these guys away. They are the casualties of my childhood playtime so this one goes out to the kid inside us all.

 

Remember, You have the power.

 

nostalgia, typography
January 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm Twitter Twitter
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A collection of interesting maker’s marks found on the back of fine china. Check the backside of your Mom’s china and you might find a sweet surprise. It’s ironic that the most beautiful detail of fancy houseware can be the hand-rendered logo on the back of it.

Ephemera, hand drawn, logos, nostalgia
October 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm Twitter Twitter
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Jimmy Tovar, our good friend and an ultra-hyper-talented illustrator & animator, recently returned from a road trip through the Dirty South, traversing the benevolent wilds of Texas and Louisiana and ending in the beguiling Everglades National Park in Florida.

From Jimmy’s site:

I’m a right handed Sagitarrius.  I like to travel and take pretty pictures. Playing my classical guitar is what I love the most, although I’m not very good at it.

For his complete travelogue, including some “sketches” that will make you want to step outside and sharpen your pencils and minds, check out jimmytovar.com.

color, life, nostalgia, photography, road trips, Travel, wild life
October 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm Twitter Twitter
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These are some of the tedious little paintings I do in my ‘off’ hours to work out the art of seeing.

These paintings provide a space for me to focus on the depth and particularities of an object, and an opportunity for me to re-envision that object’s complexities. After capturing the object through drawing, I develop the compositions with layers of gauche—a process that (sometimes) makes sense of the chaos of lines and scribbles, and reveals a new harmony of color and form.

Featured at Progress Coffee in Austin during the month of September in conjunction with a few paintings by Katie Daly—the last image is the artists’ statement from that show.

abstract, color, hand drawn, Painting
October 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm Twitter Twitter
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A 10-minute experiment in broadcasting the macro typewriter with an available light bulb.

life, logos, motion, nostalgia, photography
September 21, 2011 at 9:43 am Twitter Twitter
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“Hello, hello out there, this is radio WOLTE, Lions, Tigers and Elephants”. That is one way my grandfather would start many of his amateur radio conversations throughout the years. The following is a second inspirational installment of QSL cards which I was fortunate enough to inherit. These ephemeral pieces of American history were postcards mailed from one radio operator to another in confirmation of an exchange over the air waves. We hope you enjoy them as well!

Ephemera, nostalgia, QSL cards, radio
September 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm Twitter Twitter
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Meet Juke Auto—an Austin TX crew of Mechanics, Technicians and Kings of what they do. Their location is on the fringe of the city at 702 B Shady Lane, but don’t let the name fool you—Juke and his crew are anything but.

The moment you walk into the place you realize you are not in your average mechanic shop. Grease, gadgets and the spirit of Johnny Cash are everywhere. But, what sets Juke and his boys apart from the herd is their honest to goodness approach to an industry filled with bandits. This is what costumers are saying about his shop:

“Juke will restore your confidence in humanity.”

“Juke explains everything like a concerned doctor breaking down the health of his patient in decipherable terms.”

These guys are unsung heroes.

austin, Ephemera, life, nostalgia, photography, typography
August 19, 2011 at 11:35 am Twitter Twitter
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A brief glimpse behind the scenes at how we made the “Last Known Surroundings” video for Explosions in the Sky.

abstract, astronomy, color, hand drawn, Illustration, music
August 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm Twitter Twitter

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I recently took a peek into my Midwestern grandmother’s sewing cabinet and was blown away by the craftsmanship of the needle packs, metallic inks and quirky lettering. Here are a few pics for your enjoyment.

hand drawn, Illustration, logos, nostalgia, typography
March 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm Twitter Twitter
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I don’t know much about photography but do know I like to get lost with a camera and headphones every once in a while. One rainy weekend I attended a Miksang photography class that allowed me to do just that but with purpose. The class was told to do 3 things:

1.capture color
2.texture
3.dot in space

I was amazed at how everyday objects turned into what I thought were some pretty sweet photos.

life
December 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm Twitter Twitter
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What have you done for me philately? A peak into another inspiring collection of American ephemera inherited by one of Ptarmak’s lucky designers.

Ephemera, life, nostalgia, stamps
November 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm Twitter Twitter
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As amateur astronomy enthusiasts, we cherish the short, eight-hour drive West to take in the smothering expanse of the unadulterated night sky. Humbling and slightly terrifying it’s always a refreshing retreat. Luckily for us it was a new moon. (Bonus points for naming the most prominent constellation in slide 5). Photographs by David Hobizal and Sissy Emmons.

astronomy, life, photography, road trips
November 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm Twitter Twitter
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Experiencing neither snakes nor the screaming of tires, unable to sharpen his skills as a “world-class” backgammon player, and most definitely not witnessing the fabled slopes of the Rockies, our own 2-bit emotionographer, David Hobizal, took comfort in that his thumbs were abnormally strong for a child of his age. This allowed the blatant lampooning of his 5-year-old naivety to be offset, if only for a moment, by some outrageously high-scores.

life, nostalgia, typography, Video Games
November 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm Twitter Twitter
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A sneak peek of a few pieces in the works for the good folks at Ursa Major, purveyors of stellar skincare for men. Check out their site, and don’t leave without picking up a free sample.

life, logos, the great bear, typography, ursa major, wild life
November 3, 2010 at 8:00 am Twitter Twitter
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In the summer of 2007 Ptarmak designer Sissy Emmons travelled to Poland in search of the rich history and symbolism of Polish poster design. Spending the majority of her time in Krakow and Warsaw, she concluded her trip in Szczecin visiting the studio of master poster artist, Leszek Zebrowski. These are just some of the posters she collected during her trip, several of which were given to her by Leszek himself. Hope you love them as much as we do.

Illustration, Poland, Posters, Travel
October 29, 2010 at 7:36 pm Twitter Twitter
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Inspiring ephemera collected by Ben while traveling around the world with the circus. Tickets, receipts and much more. Enjoy!

Travel, typography
October 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm Twitter Twitter
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Design and illustration are everywhere you look.  We’ve captured a few Austin gems for your enjoyment.

austin, hand drawn, sign painting, typography
October 1, 2010 at 4:55 pm Twitter Twitter
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Ptarmak’s own grizzly Senior Designer and resident cheese expert, Zach Ferguson, recently inherited a collection of design relics that has everyone in the studio falling out of our faux Eames chairs. From the early 1940’s thru the early 1960 his grandfather, Andrew Andros, was an avid Ham radio operator. As was customary back then, once they stumbled across someone’s frequency, amateur radio operators exchanged QSL cards to confirm two-way radio contact between stations. Here is a quick peek at a few of the many amazing artifacts he inherited. There really is something undeniably incredible when non-designers set type. Enjoy!

hand drawn, QSL cards, radio, typography
September 13, 2010 at 2:49 pm Twitter Twitter
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Taxidermy is the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of animals with a life-like effect. Is there something more challenging? To make that which is dead appear to have rosy cheeks, to give life to the dead? No matter how much the end result appears to be complete and real, the one thing that’s always missing from the picture is life. There is something inexplicably absent in a stuffed animal.

Whether stuffed animals are perceived as a disgrace or a trophy the one thing that can be said is that wildlife is beautiful.

bones, dead animal, stuffed animals, taxidermy, trophy, wild life
September 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm Twitter Twitter
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