Entries Tagged as 'design'

Our 2014 Calendar Revealed: Dogs, Cats and Beautiful Type

Posted on: Saturday, November 30, 2013

: from the Design Lab :

Our 2014 Lessons from the Water Bowl calendar is a project we poured our heart and soul into, from photographing amazing dogs and cats, curating the perfect images, pairing them with a heartfelt message penned by us, laying out that message with gorgeous typography from our very own type nerd Nat and finally designing the layout and look of the calendar before handing it off to a wonderful printer.

It is our hope that these works bring you joy day to day and remind you each month to live life fully and well, the way our companion animals do.

Our calendar is currently being printed and ready for pre-order in limited quantities and will be ready to ship after December 6th. To get your calendar, and other great goods such as prints form 2013 Lessons from the Waterbowl in time for the holidays, please shop HERE.

And now, it is my great pleasure, to unveil a closer look at our 2014 Lessons from the Water Bowl :)
**All photography and text ©Photo Lab Pet Photography. All Rights Reserved. Pin and Share if you like, but please be kind and give credit. Thank you!**

The calendar measures 11x17 inches, carefully printed on great quality FSC Certified paper.

The calendar measures 11×17 inches, carefully printed on great quality FSC Certified paper. Please note: Individual images below, with exception of the cover, are watermarked for their protection with our Lessons from the Water Bowl stamp, but the printed calendar itself will only have the lesson on it, as shown above.

Read More >

Lessons from the Water Bowl 2014 : Shop Small on Black LAB Friday

Posted on: Thursday, November 28, 2013

: from the Labs :


Well, you wrote us, you called us and you made it happen. We created a new Lessons from the Water Bowl calendar for 2014, and it is all because of you! This year however, we decided to design it and print it from scratch, something we weren’t able to do last year; and I must say, it has been an incredible labor of love and I cannot wait to share it with you.

We gathered 13 of our favorite photographs from different photo sessions we have had this year, we had a lot more than 13, and it was hard to let go of some, but we feel confident the final 13 will bring a little joy and light to each month.
This year, we wanted to include cats too, since they have just as much to teach us as dogs do. I had great fun brainstorming, writing and designing the typographical layout of each lesson paired with each image. A lot of heart and hard work went into this project and there was only one printer we felt we could trust with bringing our “baby” to life; the amazing folks at Mingo Press.

Here’s a little sneak peek:

Read More >

Arts & Eats: The Mission, Good Food and Art for a Great Cause

Posted on: Tuesday, October 22, 2013

from the Design Lab

Some design projects take a while to bake, and that is ok. It is more important to get it right than to get it out. That is what I tell our clients, and more often than not, they believe me and the end result is well worth the wait.
Yesterday, a project we have been working on for Creative Rescue and Creativity Explored came out of the oven and we got our first taste of its printed goodness. It is a project we deeply cared about and could not be happier to see it out in the world.

Susan Kay and Teri Hauswirth of animal rescue organization Creative Rescue approached us back in June about designing a cookbook for them. The cookbook would be a non-profit project benefiting both Creative Rescue and Creativity Explored, an organization that provides people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to pursue livelihoods as visual artists. Located in San Francisco’s Mission district, Creativity Explored has been doing this valuable work for the past 30 years.

The cookbook itself was a very fun challenge. We had to blend an easy-to follow recipe book with an art book and design it to stand on its own, much like an easel desk calendar. On one side, beautiful, bright and at times quirky art from the Creativity Explored archive or artists would be featured; the other side would feature a recipe and a little blurb about one of the 25 favorite Mission district restaurants, who generously donated their contribution.

Arts & Eats, as the book would be named, is now available for purchase through Omnivore Books, Creativity Explored or Creative Rescue. Get your copy today, have a go at some of the best recipes from the treasured Mission district and support two great non-profits.

Food, art and good will… what a great way to welcome the season of Gratitude.

More about the book:

from Creative Rescue

from SF Weekly

from SFist

Arts & Eats book cover

Read More >

Celebrate your Soul Mate with Design Lab and blanket ID

Posted on: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

from the Design Lab

We are so excited to be able to share with you something we have been incredibly excited about. We have joined blanket ID‘s Donation by Design program!

Read More >

Promise to My Dog is now a beautiful T-Shirt!

Posted on: Friday, April 5, 2013

from the Design Lab

If you follow our blog and Photo Lab Facebook page or Instagram feed (@the_labs), you are surely familiar with our little pack of dogs and cats; in which case you’d be familiar with our special girl Willow, our recently adopted Shepherd/Kelpie mutt. On Willow’s adoption day and while really thinking about having her go from “foster” to “forever” dog, I was inspired to write her a little promise and wrote  blog post about it; you can read that HERE.
I guess it must have struck a chord with my fellow dog lovers, because the post and the image of Willow with her written promise that accompanied it, went viral.

I am truly delighted to see how many people share our feelings for Willow, for their own dogs; and honestly humbled that something I wrote could touch so many. Our blog post somehow came across Dog is Good and shortly after, they contacted us about possibly making it a t-shirt. We were delighted to lend our work, and a piece that is so personal and meaningful to us, to such a great company and group of people. The best part? This t-shirt will hopefully do good for other dogs just like Willow, in shelters and rescues waiting for a family of their own. Dog is Good is working out details so that a portion of the proceeds of this shirt will benefit the shelter and rescue world.

That just fills me with glee, for there is nothing we find more rewarding in our line of work than to be able to give back.

Read More >

April Desktop: Calligraphy

Posted on: Monday, April 1, 2013

from  the Design Lab

It’s month number four in 2013′s calendar series! This past Christmas, my amazing husband and business partner Bill gave me a gift certificate to one of Maybelle Imasa’s Calligraphy workshops. We actually had the pleasure of meeting Maybelle at a holiday pop-up shop at Olive-Route Press. It was a true candy land of hand-made, gorgeous goods. Needless to say, I was thrilled with my gift, and I took my workshop a couple of weeks ago. I instantly fell in love with the sound of the fountain pen and the smell of ink, and found it easier than I thought it would be! Maybelle encourages to make your letters your own, and to embrace and own their little quirks and imperfections. She is a wonderful teacher, and I highly encourage you to sign up today! Please visit her site HERE.

To practice my new-found calligraphy love, I am writing you a simple little message. I know I have needed this word a lot lately. I hope it gives you a little reminder to take a few seconds to yourself, and renew.

I hope you enjoy this series and that you share our Design Lab Facebook page (where the download link will be available each month) with others.

To download your free desktop, click HERE :)

March Desktop: Springtime Music

Posted on: Monday, March 4, 2013

from  the Design Lab

It’s month number three in 2013′s calendar series! Springtime is a special time of year for me; true, it is my brithday month, but as life begins to wake up from the slumber of winter and everything looks and feels so fresh again I start to crave sunlight after a rainy day and that incredible scent of dew, grass and damp earth. This month’s desktop comes with a soundtrack, one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, an obscure one at that but I have always loved the lyrics, which inspired this spread from my sketchbook.

I hope you enjoy this series and that you share our Design Lab Facebook page (where the download link will be available each month) with others.

To download your free desktop, click HERE :)

Ask First! A Retrotastic Campaign Poster for Dogs in Need of Space

Posted on: Monday, February 4, 2013

from the Design Lab

Many of us have been there, whether we have friendly dogs who love everyone or we have dogs that are not so sure about new people or other dogs, chances are, we have all had a moment or two during a walk or a hike when an encounter leaves our hearts beating a little faster.
I happen to have both: a dog who loves everyone and a dog who loves dogs, but is afraid of people. Regardless, as their person, it is my responsibility to protect them from anything that might harm them or another person or dog.

I was thrilled when the lovely mastermind behind the popular DINOS: Dogs in Need of Space movement, Jessica Dolce contacted us to collaborate on a new project (we had previously worked together on creating a logo, brand and product line for DINOS). Ask First! is a public service announcement campaign to illustrate and bring attention to the importance of being responsible, respectful and safe when out enjoying the outdoors with our four-legged friends.

To read about the campaign, and why it is important to give people and dogs space, please visit her blog HERE. You can also go to her shop from there and download the poster for free or purchase stickers and lots of other goodies.


When Jess and I first sat down to draw some concepts for the poster, two things were at the top of our list: the need for the message to be clear and a love of all things vintage and retro.

So we got to work. Jess wrote all the copy she wanted in the poster and gave me a scenario to start from: two people with dogs cross paths, one dog is very friendly and eager to meet the other, pulling on his leash and directly approaching th other dog. The other dog in question is a DINOS, a dog in need of space, he may be afraid of other dogs or people, he may be in training, he may be in recovery etc. The DINOS dog depends on his person for protection, and so the person pleads with the other to keep a distance from them, with a raised arm and a universal “stop” hand sign.

We drew inspiration mainly from vintage style travel posters like the ones beautifully produced by Anderson Design Group. One of our favorites, being this one for Glacier National Park.

With simple shapes, playing with depth, light and shadow, we were able to create a similar style. Drawing people is no easy feat, especially in a case like this, where a message is being delivered, with a need to appeal to a wide audience, to educate without preaching and to avoid offending anyone.
Why are the people faceless? We thought it appropriate to match the style of the poster, but also, so that we could all put ourselves in that scenario. I’ve been the girl with the friendly dog (more on that below) but I have also been the guy with the DINOS dog.


Inside Look: To get just the right angle of bodies and movement, we took photographs of a girl and a dog very eager to get somewhere and a guy raising his hand in “stop” with his dog by his side, looking up at him. Here’s the kicker, the girl and the brown dog is yours truly (if you know me, my bangs are a dead giveaway) and the brown dog is none other than the Design Lab himself, Corbin, with a different coat color. The guy happens to be Bill (the other half of our team) and the little Beagle by his side, was originally modeled by our own DINOS dog Willow, a Shepherd-Kelpie mix that underwent a serious transformation.

We are thrilled to be a small part of this movement, and hope ti will bring awareness and improve safety and relations for dog lovers everywhere. Thanks to Jess and DINOS for always making collaborations so much fun!

February’s Desktop: Hand-Made with Love

Posted on: Friday, February 1, 2013

from  the Design Lab

It’s month number two in 2013′s calendar series, and I’ve been drawing a lot of letters in my sketchbook lately for a branding project I am working on. I drew 4 more letters to share with you, after all, this fur-letter word is what February is all about right? I hope you enjoy this series and that you share our Design Lab Facebook page (where the download link will be available each month) with others.

To download your free desktop calendar, click HERE.

Thank you!! :)

Three LOVEly New Products from Design Lab

Posted on: Thursday, January 17, 2013

from the Design Lab

If you are anything like me, you are probably feeling January flying by! Before we know it, Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we have yet to figure out what “little something” to get for our loved ones.

Fear not, your loyal Design Lab is here to help with not one, not two, but THREE awesome little designs for you to spread the love with this Valentine’s Day.

Each of these designs is available as a folded greeting card in 2 sizes as well as a postcard format for those of us wanting to save an envelope. Our good friends at RedBubble not only have the most gorgeous, high quality printing stock but also make shopping super easy.

Lessons from the Water Bowl: Never Be Afraid to Show Love
One of the favorites from the series (and featured in our calendar) is sure to bring a smile to anyone who receives it.


All You Need is PUPPY Love
Jack, a French Bulldog from one of our first illustrations for our Critter~a~Month series makes for a very sweet Valentine’s Day greeting.


A Great Love Deserves a Great Love Song
This piece was created last year as part of our DeskType Wallpaper series. It was so popular as a desktop wallpaper calendar we thought we’d offer it as a lovely new greeting card.

Get your Valentine’s card shopping done early from the comfort of your own home. Click HERE to visit the Design Lab RedBubble shop today!


New Year, New Desktop Series

Posted on: Friday, January 4, 2013

from  the Design Lab

During the entirety of 2012, I created a series of downloadable desktop calendars as a Thank You to our followers, but also as a monthly creative challenge. It was enjoyable and often quite a challenge! But people seemed to really enjoy them, and since I am a firm believer in doing personal work that is rewarding and allows others to catch a glimpse of what you care about as an artist I thought I’d repeat the challenge again this year.

For 2013′s calendar series, I’ll be creating a design by stealing from my sketchbooks. A sketchbook can be something quite personal and revealing, but the personal, hand-made touch is what I am truly excited about sharing. The more digital and automatized we get, the more I want to go back to basics. I hope you enjoy this series and that you share our Design Lab Facebook page (where the download link will be available each month) with others.

To kick off January, I share this sketch of our recently adopted pup Willow, for some reason we nicknamed her “Bee”. I was watching her play at the park one day after we decided to formally adopt her (she was our foster puppy) and she just looked so deliriously happy… All I could hear in my head were the words to Nina Simone’s I’m Feelin’ Good.

To download your calendar, click HERE.

Hello, Goodbye!

Posted on: Thursday, January 3, 2013

from the Labs

If you have one resolution this year, only one… Let it be this one.

Goodbye 2012!

This past year was definitely one of growth at Photo Lab and Design Lab HQ… In every way possible, we grew.

  • We grew as a small business, bringing in double the happy clients we did last year.
  • We grew as working professionals, perfecting our craft and learning something new with each project and challenge.
  • Growing sometimes includes some difficult times, but we stuck together, regardless of the growing pains that we ultimately learned valuable lessons from.
  • We grew our following, surpassing 1000 fans on Facebook and making new friends in colleagues and fellow dog/cat/art lovers.
  • As members of HeARTs Speak, we enjoyed doing a lot of work for shelters and rescues this year, and some of it made it into Bark Magazine to our sheer delight.
  • We grew as a family, adding a shelter puppy named Willow to our pack!

In all, it was a good year for us, with its share of ups and downs but with great opportunity for learning from every curveball coming our way.

Below I compiled some of our favorite faces and projects for 2012, with gratitude to everyone involved in making them a reality. To all our wonderful clients, we sincerely appreciate you and look forward to an even better 2013!

From the Photo Lab

This was a BIG one for us our first BARk cover!! :D

From the Design Lab

These are some of the design and photography projects we worked on this year.


Wishing you the happiest of new beginnings this year!


Lessons from the Water Bowl: Dogs, Photography and Type

Posted on: Thursday, November 8, 2012

from the Labs

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and as professional photographers we could not agree more. With words, we find that the simpler the message, the better; yet as designers and overall creative people, we believe that the way that message is presented can be key to it striking a chord with the people you are trying to reach. Pairing a beautiful image with some powerful text has proven to be a subtle yet very striking way to engage someone. It has been done in many ways, many times but I find that there is never a good balance, they have great images, and wonderful words, but they don’t shine because of a poor choice of font, or placement or legibility; or maybe it’s the other way around, great words and design, and a not-so-great image.

Typography is the art or process of printing/working with type, the work of setting and arranging type in a way to make a word or message not only clear and legible, but beautiful.
I am, I’ll confess, a type-nerd. I love trying out new fonts to work with and if there is one talent I dearly wish I had, it would be that of hand-lettering.


Piecing together our monthly desktop wallpaper calendars (download them for free!), a project we later aptly called DeskType Wallpapers, really allowed me to play with words, different font styles and I gave myself an enjoyable puzzle to work on every month. I enjoyed the result so much that I decided to overlay some type on one of our images for our Photo Lab | Design Lab holiday email last year and this typography + photography combination has since become synonymous with our style. We now compose our photographs with type in mind, allowing for extra negative space, shooting at a wide open aperture to remove busy backgrounds and allow type to be more easily readable.

November’s DeskType Wallpaper. Download it by visiting our Design Lab Creative Studio Facebook page.

Our holiday newsletter cover from last year, the beginning of our signature photography + typography style.

These typography + photography pieces now illustrate every one of our email newsletters, they adorn every greeting card we send to our clients and friends, they help illustrate random thoughts or support important causes to us and have headlined many of our blog posts, in particular our series on canine behavior; every time we shared one of these pieces on the web, Facebook and Pinterest in particular, the image went viral and was shared numerous times. Most recently, we wrote and created a piece called The Promise, a personal project to express our joy and vows to our newly adopted dog Willow; to our amazement, that one garnered unbelievable attention, and resulted in calls and emails not only from people who had seen it online, but from notable names in the pet industry such as Bark Magazine, Dog is Good and P.L.A.Y. Pet, Lifestyle and You. The winter issue of Bark Magazine features three custom pieces we created for Kim Kavin’s article on fostering. We were brought in to photograph foster dogs for the article and create the type + photo pieces, writing to help tell the story and pinpoint some key messages in relation to the joys of fostering dogs.

Custom-made piece for Bark Magazine’s winter 2012 issue. “Why Foster?” by Kim Kavin

Somehow, what we were writing, creating and sharing in these pieces was striking a chord with people from all over. It gave me a wonderful sense of community to see that so many people shared our love and commitment to animals and that they enjoyed what we created enough to share it with their friends. That’s where Lessons from the Water Bowl comes in…

The Dogs Speak, I Write…
One of my favorite quotes by Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne is “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”  This gave me an idea: what if someone not only listened, but took notes and shared them with the world?
Selfishly, it would a personal project to keep ourselves shooting for fun and for me to keep experimenting with type, but primarily, it would be a way to remind people of the many things we can learn from animals if we take the time to listen. Better yet, what if they had something beautiful, to remind them of this message?

So, we set out to create 12 pieces to begin with, gathering some of our best work and shooting for instances where we wanted something very specific. The result: a gorgeous calendar we are ridiculously proud of and one we have so been looking forward to sharing with everyone. It is here, it is ready and just in time to be hanging on your wall by January 1st. You can now purchase your calendar HERE.

Lessons from the Water Bowl 2013 calendar

January’s Lesson

May’s Lesson

August’s Lesson

The best part is, this calendar is only the beginning! This will be an ongoing series since dogs have endless things to say and teach, and we won’t stop at dogs; we have plans to include cats and any other animal willing to “sit down” with me for a chat. We hope you enjoy this series and that you keep sharing it with your loved ones.

What has your dog or cat taught you?
We’d love to hear your stories! Share them on our Facebook wall or via email and if your submission gets picked to become part of the series, we’ll send you a lovely print of your Lesson in its photography + typography format :)

Critter~a~Month: May

Posted on: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

from the Design Lab

Our May installment for our Critter~a~Month series marks the first set of 12 months! A full year of Critters already! But since there are so many more breeds to illustrate, I will continue drawing until I run out of dogs, and when that happens, I will move on to cats and so on… there is more than enough to draw from out there :)

May’s Critter is a Jack Russell Terrier named Joey! Jack Russells can be defined as a lot of dog in a little body. In the right hands and with the proper outlets and stimulation, Jacks can be so much fun, and incredible at learning new things, solving problems and needless to say, your home will forever be rid of unwanted house guests and pests (of any kind haha). Jacks are so smart and charismatic, they have made it into some serious Hollywood spotlights. Some famous Jacks include “Eddie” who appeared in the TV sitcom Frasier, a JRT named Cosmo played “Arthur” in the movie Beginners, “Milo” the hilarious dog in Jim Carrey’s The Mask was played by Max, and most recently, Uggie wooed audiences worldwide in his “silent” performance in the Oscar-winning movie The Artist.

Our next Critter will be a breed that begins with the letter K, any guesses or requests? Have a great week ahead!

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie