Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NYC subway iPhone case by Solarek

I noticed on inCase's website that it is offering some designs on their iPhone shells. I thought, why not offer something functional?

This would be helpful for quick access, and when there is not cell service.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Institutional Investor's Sovereign Funds website design

I designed this website for Institutional Investor's Sovereign Funds organization.

I also designed promotional banners for the other locations on the roundtable tour. Each banner promoted a different event location. Other designs included: London, Coral Gables, and Singapore.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New website design for Connecticut luxury home goods store

I recently designed and coded a new website for a home goods store in Westport, Connecticut. In the attached image, I show my strategy behind the site design. I'd be happy to hear any thoughts or suggestions. Thank you.

New website design for tableware industry leader revealed

Mottahedeh recently hired me to redesign its website. Please find a sample design above.

The parent company Mottahedeh, Inc., based in New Jersey, distributes Mottahedeh, R. Haviland & C. Parlon, and Milestone. I designed the new site to show the three brands with equal footing, and make it easy to navigate to each.

In the attached comparison, I show the enhancements I made over the original.

Currently, the new home page is 'live,' with subsections coming as they are ready.

The new site should be fully ready by January 1st, 2010.

Please find the temporary site here - mottahedeh.com

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finding a person or company to assess a company's pollution

I would like to see more businesses get a green assessment. I'm curious what they'd say about my company, too.

Wall St. Journal
Hot Job: Calculating Products' Pollution

Until a few years ago, Nuno da Silva's arcane occupation -- professional pollution calculator -- was of little utility to the corporate world.

But in these days of global-warming worries and greener-than-thou marketing, companies suddenly can't get enough of his services. Revenue at the division he manages exploded 150% in 2008 and continues to expand this year, despite the recession. Since the beginning of 2008, he has added 13 people to his staff, bringing the number of employees to 16.

"We used to be the environmental geeks," said Mr. da Silva, who oversees the U.S. division of a German environmental consulting company, PE International. "Now we're mainstream."

Concerns about greenhouse gases and other environmental hazards have spurred governments and companies to try to reduce the environmental impact of everything from auto fuels to water bottles. The first step in doing that is to assess the pollution those products impose on the Earth.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s most recent environmental effort -- a bid to tag all of its products with information about their environmental impact -- will force hundreds of its suppliers to inventory their pollution, which many expect will create a boom for the pollution-counting profession.

Enter the growing class of "pollution counters" like Mr. da Silva. Using computer models, they process information about the energy and resources consumed by making, using and disposing of a product. At each stage, a product's effects on the soil, water and air are tracked to come up with what is known as a life-cycle assessment.

At chemical maker DuPont Co., the in-house group that does life-cycle assessments has grown from three members to 10 in the past six years.

At New Balance, a Boston-based maker of sneakers and athletic clothing, a "green team" has begun calculating the environmental cost of the plastic soles used in the company's shoes as well as the impact of shipping from New Balance's Asian factories. What the team has found so far suggests that the materials that go into the shoes, rather than the trip from overseas, take the bigger toll on the environment.

Although life-cycle assessments have been around since the 1970s and are fairly common in Europe, the practice has taken off in the U.S. only in the past few years, industry experts say.

But the profession can be lucrative. Calculating the life-cycle impact of a single product can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Mr. da Silva said that starting salaries in his field average about $60,000. The first step in doing a life-cycle assessment is collecting data on the environmental impact of the different processes involved, from extracting raw materials to transforming them in a factory. Sometimes that means measuring emissions from a smokestack or a tailpipe, but the statistical information often comes from databases compiled by companies like PE International.

Most serious counters abide by guidelines from the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization. It is up to the assessor to determine precisely what in a product's production to count and what to leave out.

But no clear rules govern the assessments, whose conclusions can vary sharply. While several organizations are trying to come up with standards, they don't agree, and there are no enforcement mechanisms. There is also nothing to stop companies from looking around for a pollution assessment that will favor their products or points of view.

The American Christmas Tree Association, which represents companies that produce artificial holiday trees, says it did its best to make accurate a life-cycle assessment that compared its products to natural Christmas trees. The assessment, which is still being reviewed, found that an artificial tree was slightly more environmentally friendly, mainly because the biggest source of pollution for either type of tree was consumers driving to get it, and consumers tend to reuse artificial trees.

But the National Christmas Tree Association, which represents tree growers, disputes the findings. "It is patently absurd to think that using a nonbiodegradable, nonrenewable product from a factory is somehow more environmentally friendly than buying a real tree," said spokesman Rick Dungey.

He pointed to a 2009 Christmas tree life-cycle assessment by a different pollution counter that found that natural trees are better for the environment unless an artificial tree is reused for at least 20 years.

Robin Jenkins does assessments for DuPont. To evaluate a potential project to make ethanol out of corn stalks, she talked to farmers, auto makers and regulators. Her recommendations included leaving half of the stalks on the field to prevent soil erosion, a practice the company plans to adopt at a pilot plant it is building in Tennessee.

But sometimes pollution counters find that just doing a calculation has little effect. For example, a life-cycle assessment done for the consumer-products giant Unilever found that smaller bottles of more-concentrated laundry detergent would save water, reduce packaging material and cut greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation.

But consumers continued to choose bigger bottles, which they assumed were a better value, said Gavin Neath, senior vice president of global communications and sustainability at Unilever.

Only after Wal-Mart banned nonconcentrated detergents from its shelves did Unilever make inroads with its pollution-counter-approved product.

Write to Ana Campoy at ana.campoy@dowjones.com

View the original article - click here

Monday, August 3, 2009

Before and after pictures of client's new website

Home page:

Results page:

Shopping cart page:

The images above compare our client's website before and after we redesigned their retail website. We launched The Pink Daisy's new site on July 20, 2009.

You're invited to visit the website: www.thepinkdaisy.com

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spam alert for Ashley Carter Selection Committee Chair US Commerce Association

Two of my clients in unrelated fields received these 'awards' designations (pictured at above), and I think they may be part of a spamming operation and may have hidden motives. To support this theory, I searched for Ashley Carters name and her group and found this notice below from the Spokane Better Business Bureau:

"Recent emails notifying businesses that they have won prestigious awards from a national association appear to be part of a widespread scheme designed to get companies to pay for “vanity” awards and plaques."

The full BBB article can be found here:

The e-mail my client received is below.


I am pleased to announce that Devine Corporation has been selected for the 2009 Best of Wall Township Award in the Glassware Decorators category by the US Commerce Association.

In recognition of your achievement, a 2009 Best of Wall Township Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Devine Corporation by following the simple steps on the 2009 Best of Wall Township Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to receive your award:

Each year, the US Commerce Association (USCA) identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Devine Corporation has been posted on our website. The USCA hereby grants Devine Corporation a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.

An Award Code has been assigned to your company that can be used on our website for quick access to your award information and press release.

Your Award Code is: HKAS-JDTK


Ashley Carter
Selection Committee Chair
US Commerce Association

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wal-Mart to put green ratings on products

I'd like to see all my clients with products and services consider doing what Wal-mart is doing: creating green ratings. Please see article below. The logic is three-fold: 1) it helps the planet 2) makes your product cost less 3) puts you ahead of competitors. Consumers care what a product does to the environment.

Wal-Mart Thursday will tell suppliers they must calculate and disclose the full environmental costs of making their products, then allow Wal-Mart to distill the information into a rating system that shoppers will see alongside prices for everything from T-shirts to televisions.

The questionnaire Wal-Mart sends suppliers is below.

Please find the full article here:

Sustainability Index: Supplier Assessment Questions
Energy and Climate

Reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions

1. Have you measured your corporate greenhouse gas emissions? (Y/N)

2. Have you opted to report your greenhouse gas emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)? (Y/N)

3. What are your total greenhouse gas emissions reported in your most recently completed report? (Enter total metric tons CO2e, e.g. CDP6 Questionnaire, Section 2b -- Scope 1 and 2 emissions)

4. Have you set publicly available greenhouse gas reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets? (Enter total metric tons and target date; 2 fields or leave blank)

Material Efficiency

Reduce waste and enhance quality

Scores will be automatically calculated based on your participation in the Packaging Scorecard in addition to the following:

5. If measured, please report total amount of solid waste generated from the facilities that produce your product(s) for Wal-Mart Inc for the most recent year measured. (Enter total lbs)

6. Have you set publicly available solid waste reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets? (Enter total lbs and target date; 2 fields or leave blank)

7. If measured, please report total water use from the facilities that produce your product(s) for Wal-Mart Inc for the most recent year measured. (Enter total gallons)

8. Have you set publically available water use reduction targets? If yes, what are those targets? (Enter total gallons and target date; 2 fields or leave blank)

Natural Resources

High quality, responsibly sourced raw materials

9. Have you established publicly available sustainability purchasing guidelines for your direct suppliers that address issues such as environmental compliance, employment practices, and product/ingredient safety? (Y/N)

10. Have you obtained 3rd party certifications for any of the products that you sell to Walmart? If so, from the list of certifications below, please select those for which any of your products are, or utilize materials that are, currently certified.

People and Community

Responsible and ethical production

11. Do you know the location of 100% of the facilities that produce your product(s)? (Y/N)

12. Before beginning a business relationship with a manufacturing facility, do you evaluate their quality of production and capacity for production? (Y/N)

13. Do you have a process for managing social compliance at the manufacturing level? (Y/N)

14. Do you work with your supply base to resolve issues found during social compliance evaluations and also document specific corrections and improvements? (Y/N)

15. Do you invest in community development activities in the markets you source from and/or operate within? (Y/N)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Good quotes

Design is problem solving.
- Kevin Farnham (2006)

The page metaphor is dead, and people are finally understanding what to do now that we don't have pages.
- Liz Danzico (2008)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Choice architecture: the framing of how decisions are presented to consumers

An article from the Wall St. Journal about government policy mentioned this neat approach to business:

... "choice architecture" -- the context, format and framing of how decisions are presented to consumers. You will eat more nuts from a big bowl than from a small bowl. You will choose surgery if you are told it offers a 90% chance of survival; you will reject it if you are told there is a 10% chance it will kill you. The same people who would skip investing in a 401(k) if they had to "opt in" to the plan will participate if they have to "opt out" in order to skip it.

I wonder how this may be applied to help us succeed at anything we do.

Read full article here:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

3-D NYC Bookcase

Concept for bookcase which is formed by NYC's subway and parks. Central Park could be a cabinet.

Manhattan table and coat hanger

This is the updated form factor for the Manhattan table and coat hanger.
As a table, it sits on four legs.
As a coat hanger, it is hung on a wall, and the hooks are placed in pre-drilled holes that fall on the subway stops.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Luxury rug maker selects Solarek Studio to design brochure

Above is the brochure I designed for the luxury rug brand Nying Zemo. The New York-based boutique produces hand-knotted rugs in Kathmandu, Nepal, that meet high quality, eco-friendly standards and is Good Weave certified (aka Rugmark), ensuring no child-labor. The top image shows the initial layout I proposed to the Nying Zemo management team. Most rug brochures show page after page of rugs. I created selling points beyond simple product shots. These points include:
- How a person would enjoy a Nying Zemo rug in his or her life. I show the rug being enjoyed in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
- Where the rug can be appreciated, including: homes, offices, and hotels.
- Why Nying Zemo's rugs are better then competitors' rugs. As a lesser known brand, it was important for Nying Zemo to make clear why its better than other rugs.

I suggested the tagline "a beautiful rug makes a beautiful life," since portion of Nying Zemo sales goes to ABC Nepal (an anti-trafficking NGO).

These rugs are made from very soft wool, which is why I suggested a teddy bear as part of the imagery for the brand.

The second image set shows how I've searched for images that portray the messages we want.

People overall prefer to call people they know, especially when they are buying something. Due to this, I suggested the rug company owners put their pictures on the back of the brochure alongside the contact information. They had the idea to include a personal note with their hand written contact info. I love that idea.

I thought it important to show the breathtaking environment in which these rugs are made. The insert at the bottom shows the Himalayan mountains in Nepal.

Please contact Nying Zemo (pronounced "ning-zehmo") by visiting: http://www.nyingzemo.com

New Solarek Studio travel products launched

Customers contacted us and asked for Nice, France, and Newark, New Jersey (USA) Air Wear travel bags. We invite you to find the new products here:
» View Nice, France airport code travel products
» View Newark, USA airport code travel products

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Updated NYC coat hanger design...and table?!

In the original design, the graphic for the subway would be placed on the wall directly. This would require drilling into the wall to apply the hooks. The updated design above places the subway on a Manhattan shaped board, which contains pre-drilled holes for the hooks. I think this method is preferable.
I do like the idea of a subway map graphic that can be directly applied to a wall, but that seems to be a different product.
Should every stop by drilled on the map?
Offering hooks that are the shape of famous monuments would be fun. Prospects:
- Empire St. building
- Chrysler building
- Washington Sq. Park arch
- Grant's Tomb
- Cloisters
- Columbia Univ. library or alma mater statue
- Belvedere Castle in Central Park

Other monuments?

This object could also serve as a table. I'd imagine fewer holes would be preferable if this were the desired use. In that case, the table would come with plugs that fill in the holes. The monuments would then go upright on top of the table.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New York City subway coat hangar by SS

The image on the left is of a coat hanger that was in today's Times. This image inspired me to think of how a New Yorker may do it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Should event posters list show prices?

I've enjoyed designing the Gotham Comedy posters for the last 6 months, yet I thought one piece of important information was missing: the show prices. I had originally included these in the design, but they were scrapped.
A few weeks ago, I broached the topic with the decision makers. I suggested to them that we add prices to the posters that are displayed on both sides of the front door along the sidewalk because:
- People like to know prices, including people who like comedy.
- Comedy clubs have a so-so reputation. There always seem to be hidden charges, drink minimums, etc. This allows you to pull back the curtain and be more transparent.
- As far as i can tell, Gotham's prices are reasonable. We should be promoting that.

This week the posters go up out front of the club with prices listed. (Please see the poster above; previous posters listed no pricing information.) We'll see what happens. Let's see if passerbyes react to seeing the prices.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Schneider Society for Children unveils logo by Solarek Studio

The Schneider Society, a fundraising group dedicated to helping North Shore LIJ's Schneider Children's Hospital, asked the Solarek Studio to design a logo for the organization. We are honored to be involved.

The logo is two s's placed together in a mirrored reflection. This forms a heart, representing the organization' dedication to the care of children.

"Jason did a great job of creating a meaningful logo which helps exemplify the mission of our charity," said Dan Fanelli, Founder/Co-Executive Director of Schneider Society. "This will surely be an enormous help in our efforts with Schneider Children's Hospital and we look forward to working with Solarek Studio in the future."


Solarek Studio encourages you to support the children's hospital via the Schneider Society. Please visit:


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Solarek Studio's Dubai T-shirt Featured in Middle Eastern Magazine

If you're flying to Dubai or around the Emirates this month, please look for the editorial mention about Solarek Studio in Jazeera Airway's inflight magazine. (Click here to view the article on Jazeera's website in English.) The April 2009 print issue gives a full page to our Dubai t-shirt. (The attached image shows their website in Arabic, as well as the printed page layout showing Wordsworth on the right side page.)

We currently offer New York and Dubai designs on regular and v-neck American Apparel tees. You're also welcome to request a custom design for any city or country by writing me. (I personally do the designs, and love doing them.)

Buy Dubai t-shirt - click here

Please check out our Wordsworth website site where you can browse and shop online:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tool to track credit card debt by applying sticker on card

I came up with Credit Card Tracker based upon something my dad was doing: he was taping piece of paper with the interest rate written on them on the back of his credit cards. Credit Card Tracker turns this into an easy to apply sticker.

I have also been experimenting with a paper sleeve in which you store your credit card, and write the APR, month, etc. on the outside of the sleeve. With the sleeve, you can separate the card and the information, thereby you can avoid letting waiters see your notes (if that makes you uncomfortable; it's not for me). You can also keep track of past balances and APRs by looking at past sleeves.

There apparently is a need to cut our debt with some sort of tool like these. The New York Times said in an article:

The typical American carries a $9,000 credit card balance from month to month. Say this card charges an annual 18 percent interest rate and allows paying as little as 2 percent of the balance each month. Even if no more charges are made on the card and the minimum payments is made on time every month, it would take 47 years to pay it off, according to the National Foundation of Credit Counselors. By then, total payments would be $32,994, including $23,994 in interest.

The full article can be found by clicking here

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Apartment Apparel t-shirts written up on The Real Deal, CityFile, and Curbed.com websites

We're happy to share that The Real Deal magazine wrote about a Solarek Studio product on its home page today. The Real Deal, whose print magazine and website cover the New York real estate market, features Solarek's Apartment Apparel line.
Our products were then picked up and posted on Curbed.com and CityFile.
Above please find some screen shots from these websites.
Below please find the article from The Real Deal.
Our items can be found here: http://newyorkcityapartments.spreadshirt.com/us/US/Shop/

Thank you,


March, 04, 2009
Wear your home hunt on your sleeve
By Jovana Rizzo
The Real Deal

In addition to listing your apartment with brokers or on Craigslist, you can now advertise your real estate search on your chest.
East Village graphic designer Jason Solarek has created T-shirts and buttons with the phrases "I need an apartment to rent" and "I have an apartment for rent," giving people an opportunity to facilitate real estate transactions during an ordinary day.
Solarek, the creative director of advertising agency Solarek Studios, came up with the idea for the shirts because he kept running into people who were talking about trying to find, or get rid of, apartments. He launched the shirts on his Web site last week.
"A lot of people are always asking friends [about apartments], or mention things in passing. There are a lot of missed opportunities to be able to exchange information," Solarek said, adding that his T-shirts could inspire conversation between people in real estate limbo.
The shirts come in male, female and v-neck versions, and are priced at $25 to $27. Whether people wear the shirts for fashion or to actually advertise their apartments remains to be seen.
Paul Purcell, co-founder of Charles Rutenberg in New York, said sellers obviously still need a broker's services to sell homes, but "it forces us to think in different ways," whether it's advertising on a T-shirt or on Facebook. In November, one man took selling his apartment into his own hands by walking around the city with a cardboard ad, yelling "apartment for sale!"
And even if the shirts don't help someone find an apartment, Solarek says they are appropriate for the city's obsession with real estate.
"In New York, the first thing people say to each other is 'Hi, nice to meet you, how much do you pay for your apartment? Or do you have an apartment for rent? Or I have an apartment for rent," Solarek said. "I think that the shirt is apropos for the time and a tongue in cheek representation of our New York real estate mindset."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gotham Comedy Club poster update

This image shows two Gotham posters that we designed. The one on the left is one of the originals from October, and the one on the right is a more recent design. The difference: we've moved to using color pictures to make the poster more compelling to encourage attendance and purchases. The color layouts are slightly more work, but worth it. The image also show the photos that were used to make the poster. When I make the posters, I seek to close in on the comedian's face and eyes, which I think draws people in. To catch a show at Gotham Comedy Club, please visit their website - please click here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Gotham Comedy Club chooses Solarek Studio to design posters for the front of the New York City club

Gotham Comedy Club chose us to design the posters for the front of their club. Since October, we have designed over 20 posters for the club. We design two poster types for them: one large poster showcasing one show/person, and one poster showing what is coming up for the month (usually four different acts). Check out a show at Gotham: www.GothamComedyClub.com