Block Your Creative Block


A creative block is one of the utmost frustrating challenges a graphic designer or artist faces. We have compiled a list of 4 ways to help you find inspiration and overcome your creative block:

1. Traveling
We are not talking about relocating to a new city, although that would probably be a great remedy to your creative block! We are talking about getting up and leaving your workspace. How often do you find yourself sitting in front of your desk, zoning out and staring at your computer monitor? Leave. You don’t want to feel trapped; you want to let your imagination run wild and think outside the box– so get away from your box every few hours to give your mind and eyes a break.

2. Nature
Exposing yourself to nature could be the greatest thing to do when you lack motivation or inspiration. Go outside, take a breath of fresh air and focus on your surroundings. Be aware of the sounds around you, the stylistic pattern of the pavement right beneath your feet, the shape and form of the clouds, or the harsh texture of a tree bark. By allowing yourself to take in this moment, you learn to appreciate the little things and will get inspired by the beauty that is nature.

3. Mingling with other Creatives

Graphic designers and artists should stay connected with fellow creatives. We learn and get inspired when we socialize with others. We may feel like we know all about design, branding, and print, but the truth is we don’t. Communicate within the office, attend local events or set up a small gathering for coffee or lunch.

4. Social Media
Now, this is a tricky one. It is true that social media can be a complete distraction; however, it is definitely a place to turn to for new ideas. Social media exposes us to many personalities, keeps us up-to-date with current trends, and informs us about what’s happening in the world. It’s amazing to see what other people are doing. You can get inspired and learn so much from interesting posts and blogs.

Bonus Tip:
Read the Anda Creative blog regularly, for constant inspiration, laughs, entertainment, and more!

Only 336 new Pantone colors. Sigh.


Pantone® has released 336 new colors into its Pantone Matching System Plus Series, bringing the series total to 1,677 colors. Anda had big plans to work 337 new colors into a design project, but we just couldn’t complete our vision without that extra special color. Back to the drawing board.

Even without that extra special 337th color, we can still appreciate the new additions. The colors expand the book’s broad range of saturation, including pastels, neutrals, deep hues and brights. Subtle differences in color can make big differences in design, so we welcome the new color options.

Eat More Kale…and help an artist!

I heard this story on my way home last night and thought it would be a good one to share. Vermont artist, Bo Muller-Moore is fighting charges from fast food giant Chick-fil-A over trademark infringement. Chick-fil-A claims Muller-Moore’s “Eat More Kale” T-shirt slogan is too similar to its own “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign.

To read NPR’s full story, click here. To order your very own Eat More Kale shirt, or to show support for the small-town artist who promotes local agriculture, click here.

We’re off to the Acres USA Conference

Back Forty Creative will be at the Acres USA Conference again this year. The conference runs from December 8 through December 10 in Columbus, OH. If you’re planning on attending, feel free to stop by booth #510 to learn how our design services can help your sustainable agriculture business grow by creating a new logo/branding system, website, printed brochure, exhibit displays, etc. Or, feel free to drop by just to say hello. If you can’t find us, we’ll be next to the booth with the tasty organic lollipops.

And if you’re looking for more people to visit, find our friends:
AgriEnergy Resources
All Star Trading
Working Farms Capital

See you there!

Three Generations of Wine Labels


During a recent visit to Viviano & Sons Grocery in the Hill neighborhood of St. Louis, I noticed a series of Spanish wines. Yes, my wine purchases are often influenced by the label. Not just because I believe a well-packaged product often rewards the buyer with a high quality product, but also because after the wine is long gone an empty bottle could last on top of a cabinet forever. Or it could be used for a craft project such as a candle holder or sand art container. Or it could be used to practice extreme juggling (stuff bottles with oily rags and light on fire, or break off the bottom of the bottle by hitting it on the side of a table) or ring toss.

The Matsu (Japanese for ‘to wait’) Winery practices sustainable viticulture in Toro, Spain. This collection of Matsu wine is represented by images of three generations whose personalities reflect each of the different wines: ‘El Pícaro’ (The Rogue), ‘El Recio’ (The Tough) and ‘El Viejo’ (The Old). It’s one of those great ideas that surprises me I haven’t seen before, but I particularly enjoyed seeing how strong the concept is when displayed as a series — they stood out from across the room. I’ll have to write a follow up post about whether or not the wines taste as good as they look.

Campfire Stories: WordCamp KC 2011

Miranda’s Campfire Story:
Years ago, I remember going with my mom and dad to drop off my older brother at Boy Scout Camp. He was there to learn how to make s’mores, swim, and camp in log cabins. I also remember going with my mom and dad to drop off my younger sister at horse-riding camp. She was there to, well, ride horses.

Now ask my brother and sister if they remember dropping me off at camp. The answer would be a resounding “No.” That’s because for one reason or another, I was never allowed to go. That is, I never went to camp until this weekend when Anda Creative attended WordCamp KC. Granted, there were no horses, no cabins, we couldn’t set any of the catered food on fire, and we were surrounded by fellow geeks within the walls of a slick, new modern art facility rather than a cabin. Other than that, it was just like camp.

Amanda’s Campfire Story:
When I was 11 my parents sent my sister and me to a 2 week camp in Potosi, MO (if the town sounds familiar to anyone that is
because the state prison is also in Potosi). After being at camp for like an hour I wanted to go. It was hot, dirty and I was not really great at making friends so I didn’t have anyone to hang out with. One hour turned into one week of misery. I was getting used to hating my days, though, so I told myself I could just go through the motions for one more week and it would be over. And then we went to Elephant Rock. It was supposed to be this grand field trip where we could not only vast in the greatness that is Elephant Rock, but also swim. Well, I still had no friends so I decided to hike around the area and do my own thing. And that is how I got a leach attached to my ankle. Yes, a #$%@#*% leach. Up until that point I thought that you had to be in a Third World Country (or that swamp in “Stand By Me”) to get a leach attached to you. Nope. Elephant Rock would do just fine. I still cringe to this day when I think about it. So I pulled the leach off, gagged a few times, went to the van to wait until it was time to go, got through the next week and have tried to think very little about camp ever since.

WordCamp KC was fun, though.

Anda Creative’s Campfire Story:

WordCamp KC was held in Overland Park, KS over the weekend. WordCamp is a WordPress conference that’s held in various cities around the world. This was Miranda’s first WordCamp experience, while it was Amanda’s second (Amanda also attended WordCamp NYC 2010). We attended the event to learn more about using WordPress as a CMS platform for designing and developing websites. We attended sessions from all three tracks (Designer, Developer, and Publisher)–Miranda focused on the Designer track, while Amanda focused on the Developer track, but all three were useful.

The folks in KC put together a great event. It was well-organized and well-attended, and we left feeling well-informed. Next, we’re looking forward to attending WordCamp Elephant Rock.

Shooting the final roll of Kodachrome at the Missouri State Fair

This is a recent article written by Robert Cohen of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

For six decades it sat perched atop the mountain, the king of color film. But time has almost run out for Kodachrome. The last photo lab in the United States that still develops it is in Parsons, Kansas. Dwayne’s Photo will process their last roll on December 30. Post-Dispatch photographer Robert Cohen found his last roll of Kodachrome 200 and took it to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.