213 245 1125 info@cgk.ink
0 Items
JPL’s Visions of the Future: The Inspiration

JPL’s Visions of the Future: The Inspiration

JPL’s Visions of the Future

Read about the creators’ concepts and methods in this interview:

A creative team of visual strategists at JPL, known as “The Studio,” created the poster series, which is titled “Visions of the Future.” Nine artists, designers, and illustrators were involved in designing the 14 posters, which are the result of many brainstorming sessions with JPL scientists, engineers, and expert communicators. Each poster went through a number of concepts and revisions, and each was made better with feedback from the JPL experts.

David Delgado, creative strategy:

The posters began as a series about exoplanets — planets orbiting other stars — to celebrate NASA’s study of them. (The NASA program that focuses on finding and studying exoplanets is managed by JPL.) Later, the director of JPL was on vacation at the Grand Canyon with his wife, and they saw a similarly styled poster that reminded them of the exoplanet posters. They suggested it might be wonderful to give a similar treatment to the amazing destinations in our solar system that JPL is currently exploring as part of NASA. And they were right!

The point was to share a sense of things on the edge of possibility that are closely tied to the work our people are doing today. The JPL director has called our people “architects of the future.”

As for the style, we gravitated to the style of the old posters the WPA created for the national parks. There’s a nostalgia for that era that just feels good.

Joby Harris, illustrator:
The old WPA posters did a really great job delivering a feeling about a far-off destination. They were created at a time when color photography was not very advanced, in order to capture the beauty of the national parks from a human perspective. These posters show places in our solar system (and beyond) that likewise haven’t been photographed on a human scale yet — or in the case of the exoplanets might never be, at least not for a long time. It seemed a perfect way to help people imagine these strange, new worlds.

The WPA poster style is beloved, and other artists have embraced it before us. Our unique take was to take one specific thing about the place and focus on the science of it. We chose exoplanets that had really interesting, strange qualities, and everything about the poster was designed to amplify the concept. The same model guided us for the posters that focus on destinations in the solar system.

Lois Kim, typography:
We worked hard to get the typography right, since that was a very distinctive element in creating the character of those old posters. We wanted to create a retro-future feel, so we didn’t adhere exactly to the period styles, but they definitely informed the design. The Venus poster has a very curvy, flowy font, for example, to evoke a sense of the clouds..




“Keeping a journal of what’s going on in your life is a good way to help you distill what’s important and what’s not.”

— Martina Navratilova 

Writing is, perhaps, one of humanity’s highest achievements. Collecting your thoughts, emotions; your successes and failures allows you to meditate on a very deep level.

A custom-designed journal proudly states that you are quietly observant and mindful. It’s easy and fun to create your own personal journey. 

I’m offering 10% off journals that are custom designed. Simply fill out the info below and upload a hi-res image, illustration, photo, or tell me your favorite quote — anything, really, and I’d be happy to send you a mock-up free of charge!

Questions? Contact me.




90gsm Paper

Semi-gloss Laminated Cover
Casewrap Binding


Upload files


Showing all 61 results

Fast Destruct Fashion

Fast Destruct Fashion

I’ve written quite a bit about fast fashion. That’s apparel produced in weeks, shipped, and sold before the season even begins. It’s what we count on at Zara, H&M, Target, Walmart. It is simple, inexpensive but high in quantity (not quality) and it makes a ton of money.

It also is incredibly ecologically damaging in so many ways; it can bankrupt nations and cause unnecessary deaths. Not pretty. To put this into perspective:

  • Producing a pair of jeans consumes even more water — around 3,000 liters — due to the dyeing and bleaching involved, according to calculations by Quantis.
  • Making a single pair of jeans emits around 20 kg of CO2, the same amount produced during a 49-mile car journey.
  • The industry is responsible for high carbon emissions, wastewater production, and large amounts of landfill waste.
  • Fast fashion is second only to oil as the world’s largest polluter.

The fast fashion industry produces ~1 billion garments annually.

Profits are around 3 trillion dollars per year. What impact does this large amount of production have on our environment? Production at this scale is pushing our natural systems to the absolute limit.

The fast fashion industry emits 1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent per year.

This is about 5% of global emissions. That’s more than the emissions created by air travel and international shipping.

In 2015, the fast fashion industry used 80 billion cubic metres of freshwater.

The industry is one of the largest consumers of freshwater on the planet. To put this in perspective 80 billion cubic metres is enough to fill about 32,000 Olympic size swimming pools.

Production of textiles uses about 3500 different chemicals.

The industry uses chemicals to produce, dye, coat, and soften fabrics. Many of these chemicals are harmful to humans and the environment. Through wastewater, chemicals used to produce clothing often end up in our waterways and oceans.

Cotton is one of the most resource-intensive crops out there.

In comparison to synthetic materials cotton may not actually be better for the planet. This crop uses large quantities of pesticides and fertilizers. Globally, we use about 11% of pesticides and 24% of insecticides on cotton crops. Currently, less than 1% of cotton crops are organic. On top of this cotton requires an enormous amount of water.

The above comes from an excellent source:

Fast Fashion Facts: What you need to know

from 7Billion for 7Seas.com

I rely heavily on Print-on-Demand companies like Printify and Printful. So I becoming increasingly concerned that I am becoming part of the problem and not helping the issue


This company has a pretty smart response (and they’re cute, too! BONUS!)

Human Design: Namsa Leuba

Human Design: Namsa Leuba

Vivid portraits shine light on Tahiti’s ‘third gender’

Published 9th October 2019
Written by
On the Polynesian island of Tahiti, there is said to be something akin to a sixth sense — one that belongs to neither men nor women. Instead, it is the sole domain of the “mahu,” a community recognized as being outside the traditional male-female divide.
“Mahu have this other sense that men or women don’t have,” said Swiss-Guinean photographer Namsa Leuba, whose images from the island are showing at a new exhibition in London. “It is well known in (French Polynesia) that they have something special.”
In Tahiti, mahu are considered a third or “liminal” gender, born biologically male but recognized by peers as distinct, often from early in their lives. Their gender identity has been accepted on the island since time immemorial, and mahu traditionally play key social and spiritual roles, as guardians of cultural rituals and dances, or providers of care for children and elders.

It’s Really Unfortunate and an Annoyance That We Live According to Normatives.

Years ago, I stopped using the word “should.” All my friends, collectively, just shrugged and ordered another drink. I think I was right and would like apologies, please.

We speak of “late phase capitalism” without realizing that we use those same words for cancer.

My main issue here is that “normative” no longer holds power. O! They try to make it work.

Stats vs. Design

Stats vs. Design

I’m not really into “top 10” lists of anything, really. But this one quote caught my eye:

“I think we’re in an age of user feedback that drives well-optimised but increasingly generic executions,” argues Simon Gater, creative director and co-owner at Mad River. “The quality feedback we get from users makes it much easier to get a solid understanding of whether your work is ‘fit for purpose’ quickly, and ensures we achieve client goals at a statistical level. But as more and more people get similar feedback, we’re at risk of being filtered down the same design trend or path of execution. Because of this, we now need to work harder for that point of differentiation while maintaining the optimum user experience.”

Source: creativebloq.com

I think market research and “feedback” are essential tools that make sure that you’re not making an obvious mistake in understanding your markets. But when stats start dictating which font to use, I begin to have a problem. 

Statistical analysis has, I think, grown out of all proportion and is anathema to creativity. This reliance on numbers can produce some very boring endeavours. Why? Because context is lost when you start staring down the rabbit hole that is Google Analytics. This is glaringly apparent when people start relying on social media to either influence or straight-up decide for them what strategy to take. The users of Twitter who take the time to write a scathing review of your product really is not representative of your consumer base at all. Just look at the demographics that social media companies provide: 

Source: SproutSocial

Mob Rule

It’s important to remember that these are percentages of percentages which are created by the social media companies themselves. And -if we continue to rely on statistics, every page would either look like a fascistic Apple white space or a chaotic, laissez-faire Amazon. Statistics don’t take into account creativity, failure, accidental, surprise brilliance or the power of a deadline. It also obviates experimentation for no reason other than to do it.

Unsplash, Thank You!

Unsplash, Thank You!

As I become more interested in Print on Demand (PoD) technology, I also find that my design and creative mind is along for the journey

I am not a graphic designer. Or a designer at all. I’m a language guy. I’m finding that design and art function a lot like language. I’m also beginning to understand how very, critically important design is.

Almost all the items created by cgk.ink are sourced from the web. I approach design from my mind, first. I am, right now, fascinated by Islamic art. The fact that it is based on three shapes: circle, triangle, and square, blows my mind. These elaborate, sophisticated designs show us how the human mind can excel at imagination.

Loyal & Royal

The major trick in doing this is not to violate another artist’s intellectual property. I, personally, would be very annoyed if someone were to take an article I have written and claim it as their own — let alone profiting from it. So, I am very careful where I get my images and designs. I’ve created fantastic, long-lived relationships with other designers who are masters of their craft. And I’m happy to state that we both benefit. 

For other designs, I find that I continually return to Unsplash.com. It is a completely utopic site for people like me. High resolution, incredible work by artists and completely royalty-free and public domain. I know, unbelievable. Impossibly cool. They are the ultimate enabler for design junkies. They even have a very eloquent manifesto:


In 2013, we started Unsplash by giving away 10 images we had leftover from a photoshoot. Instead of letting our photos sit dead in a folder somewhere, we thought it would be much better if they were put to use to move other creative projects forward.

Unsplash was formed as the antithesis to the stock media experiences available at the time. Instead of vast libraries, licensed and presented for commercial buyers, we focused on pushing the impact of photography further than ever before by making original, high-resolution images available for anyone to use for anything.

Today, Unsplash has become a platform fueled by creators who have generously gifted hundreds of thousands of photos to be used openly for anything. We’ve seen Unsplash images inspire millions of creations, from multi-platinum recording artists to world-renowned writers.

Our aim is to celebrate the gifts Unsplash contributors make by extending the connection to their photography as far as we can. Images connect on an emotional level. They are not only how we self-express but also how we understand all kinds of information. The creative spirit is one of exploration. If creativity is a form of exploration, then an image is the perfect start.

From the beginning, Unsplash has held a particular view on the future of creativity, and our vision remains unchanged. We believe everyone is creative and that we have a responsibility to empower everyone to create. Creativity is a fundamental human need that is essential not only for progress but for feeling connected to the world and oneself. Our world is evolving rapidly. Manual to automated. Physical to digital. Earth to Mars. While we don’t know exactly where everything is headed, what we do know is creativity will be how we get there.

Our values:

  1. Share. Remix, rework, recreate. This only works if we all take part. So share, manipulate, and reshare.
  2. Care. While the Unsplash License allows you to share without the limitations of copyright, this doesn’t mean we should ignore the work of our contributors if we can help it. It is not required but when possible, support artists willing to offer their work by giving credit.
  3. Create. Art only exists because of other art. What you build becomes the next material that inspires the next artist. Without creation we have nothing so go make something.

Pretty fucking cool.

I try to attribute credit to the artists whose work I use in my store. Due to the sheer volume, I can not always achieve this. So what I do is make sure that the source file always remains unaltered so that the attribution is within the code. I could do better and I am actively exploring ways to do that without impeding the production process.

And, in the same spirit, I also believe that “without creation, we have nothing so go make something.” This is why I welcome collaboration, experimentation and I’m happy to talk to anyone who would like to replicate what I’m doing on this site. You can contact me here.

The Boring Bits: Hosting & Domains

The Boring Bits: Hosting & Domains

A client recently requested that they move off Shopify and onto WordPress. I’m happy to help with technical issues for my clients, but as I dug around for hosting plans and domain registrations, a few things became very clear:

Managed WordPress Hosting

For years, I have used a hosting company. As my site grew and required more resources, it became evident that I  needed to get serious about my host and amove to a managed WordPress host. What’s the difference? Regular hosting companies allocate their servers across multiple platforms. They often have their own, branded HTML editor as well as myriad other platforms. A managed WordPress host focuses strictly on WordPress and nothing else.

The benefits are significant. Servers are configured correctly for WordPress. This is no light task. Setting WP up is a really unpleasant experience. You’ll experience faster responses, tech support that knows their stuff and can determine WP-specific errors and fix them quickly. Further, since the focus is on WP, you’ll be able to avoid conflicting security plug-ins, access development tools and add higher levels of performance such as CDN (content delivery network) and easily set up staging and collaborative workspaces. And there’s a triple bonus: free site migration (yes)!

I recommend Flywheel as a preferred managed WordPress host. Their response rate is phenomenal and their pricing is very competitive, Further, they offer a seriously easy to use interface and tools that let me focus on client relations and design instead of technical problems. 

Last month, Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine. From their press release:

WP Engine, as Brunner describes it, focuses largely on mid-market and larger businesses, while Flywheel — founded and currently based out of Omaha — has focused on smaller businesses. That makes the two natural complements to each other, but Brunner notes that there will be more gained from the union.

“The team there is very product-focused,” she noted. “They’ve built a suite that we feel has been focused around small agencies, but they are also the types of tools that larger agencies will benefit from.” She is referring to the product Local by Flywheel, a local development application used by more than 150,000 developers.

Flywheel, founded in 2012, had only raised around $6 million in funding, including a $4 million round several years ago. The economies of scale of throwing in its lot with WP Engine will give it a much wider exposure and access to new customers.

If you’re shopping for a managed WP host, Flywheel definitely ranks. It would be worth your while to try their trial to evaluate how easy they make developing WP sites.

Here’s the formal pitch:

Flywheel Platform Video

Domain Registration

Renewing your domain is probably the most important detail of your online store. And the least sexy. I’ve chosen a .ink domain which made renewing it previously an expensive chore.

Until I found porkbun.com. Yes, the name is snicker-worthy, but this Portland, Oregon-based registrar is by far the cheapest when renewing esoteric domains (.ink, .abagado, .bar, etc.). I easily saved 50% off which made renewing a little bit less painful.

As mentioned earlier, the internet has seen a new generation of top-level domains known as “new generic TLDs” or simply, ngTLDs. These are top-level domains that have been introduced by ICANN in recent years and don’t fit the same mold as a .com or .net. In October of 2013, ICANN announced that the first batch of ngTLDs was delegated into the internet’s root zone (the top of the DNS hierarchy which contains all of the delegations for top-level domains).

The very first ngTLD was .guru, and it was made available to the public in February of 2014. Following the success of .guru, a number of ngTLDs like .club and .link were introduced and were welcomed by new domain buyers. In June of 2014, .xyz was introduced, and two years later, more than six million domains were registered using this ngTLD.

— Source: DreamHost.com

Color Theory

Color Theory

Color is an odd phenomenon. We all see it, respond to it, quantify it, but what is it really? 

It’s just a group of photons vibrating in particular waveforms. But it is so much more. It has become part of our culture, our literature, music, psychology and much more.

Personally, I’m fascinated by color. Others are too. So fascinated that it has its own science: color theory. Our buddy Sir Isaac Newton came up with the standard color wheel to define how colors relate in 1666. We still use it today as a basic tool in design. We have expanded it to accommodate more than the visual light that Newton was seeing; there are digital and print variations, for instance. Dyes and tints apply to textiles and pigments give color to base materials. 

While creating this collection, I had to learn, as in really study, how color behaves across media. It’s a lot more complicated than you first think. In this particular case, I am using hexadecimal color codes to instruct a machine to mix inks which then applies them to items. The basic color wheel holds true, but the procedures require additional info.

Additive vs. Subtractive Color

As kids, we all learn that if we shine a red lamp and a blue lamp, we get purple (violet). Red and yellow become green and so on. But add all three primary colors and you see white. This is additive color, meaning that the surface upon which the object is shown is irrelevant (mostly). Television and screens do this trick very well using a slight variation of RGB (red, green, blue). They alternate dosages of these three primary colors to create millions of combinations. This is important to keep in mind when you’re designing for digital presentation as the design is actually made of emitted light coming at the viewer.

If you add primary colored lights together, you get white light. However, if you try this with paint, you get a blech brown. Printing uses subtractive coloring to create true shades of color upon a surface. This surface reflects light (not emit, as does light). This is why printing has four basic colors, CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black is the “k” part).

Yeah, so?

It’s a basic knowledge that goes a long way. That beautiful blue flower you see in the garden in real life is going to look very, very different when it is rendered in CMYK on a t-shirt. There are literally thousands of apps that assist in mitigating this difference (or manipulating it all together). 

cgk.ink experiments. A lot.

We’re learning how ecommerce evolves even over short periods of time. This site is a laboratory first, in which we apply what we know and check out the results. We sell the successes and, well, do “other things” to the failures. We welcome your comments below, whether on this topic or any of the other ideas we’re playing within our little lab!

My Design Mind

My Design Mind

It’s more than pretty pictures and logos. It’s a critically important part of presenting your product so that it engages and converts to sales.

Ecommerce is awash in information. Data, visuals, sounds, stats and schematics all conspire to overwhelm us. Intelligent design (no, not that kind) gives us a way to establish perspective, create order and focus on what’s important.


Here are some trends I’m seeing in online ecommerce design.

1. We Don’t Need Another Hero

Hero Images are those full-screen graphics and/or photos that take up the entire space where you enter a website. I know that you understand this because you see it several thousand times per day. Like this:

Ta da…

We get it. You found a great image. And you have a short attention span. Heroes can be really pretty, but annoying. Why are they there? Do they serve a purpose? What is its reason for being there and why is it so damn big?

If this is your first impression, you’re putting a lot of emphasis on whatever occupies this space. Heroes can be a very powerful design element if they are used sparingly and have a purpose that no other design element can serve. Otherwise, it’s a design solution in search of a problem.

2. Be Appropriate

Take your audience into consideration. Then, do it again. It really is the first question that needs to be answered. This informs your design. So, for example, a web designer, say, might not want to use designs that harken back to the 1990s:

3. Have Fun

It’s your damn site, enjoy it. The beauty of selling online is that you can change anything at anytime as many times as you like. Go for it. Finding a tone that plays with humor while having perfectly functioning elements is an engaging, unique approach. When was the last time Amazon made you (intentionally) laugh? Well, woot! does, and it works.


And it’s owned by Amazon.