Learning in Europe

November 11, 2010 by bryan

We are back in the driver seat after almost a month traveling in the Mediterranean. This year we focused on Portugal and Spain with a side trip to my family’s homeland, Sicily.

It is amazing how draining creating can be. Especially when you are running the business and designing. The remedy we found is intentional travel. Inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s TED Talk we decided to take an annual month long sabbatical. Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. Watch his TED talk and be inspired yourself.


Last year Stephanie and I spent a month traveling England, Sicily, Denmark, Sweden and Paris. This year we decided to focus on the Iberian Peninsula and see what Portuguese and Spaniards are doing.

We had thought about travel in Portugal before but after reading Communication Arts 2010 May/June Illustration Annual 51 which features the energetic design scene in Portugal, we were confirmed in our interest. Read the article (PDF).

We also have been hearing and seeing good things from our web design colleague and local Lisbon boy Hugo Baeta  who we met at An Event Apart SF 2008.

Of course we had to visit Spain as well. So many friends raved about Madrid’s art collection, Barcelona’s modernist architecture and the vibrant Andalusian sites and sounds. We had an incredible and inspiring time. We hope to share with you over the next month memories and photos from our trip. In fact often times our design techniques improve after a trip like this. For example we now have an expanded design vocabulary after researching the incredible art and pattern-work of Moorish artists in Europe.

Another interesting thing to note is our fascination yet again with street art and graffiti. For some reason we kept running across striking graffiti, especially along the riverfront in Seville.

We look forward to continuing to process all that we experienced and investing in into our work for our clients.

View the Sevilla wallpaper

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