Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sushi made simple by a clever design!

Living here in China, we have access to all sorts of Asian restaurants and dishes. From Thai to Vietnamese, Korean or Japanese, and of course all the many regions of China.  Personally, I can't get enough of the sushi... "Another dynamite roll over here please!"  I have also made sushi before and I know how difficult it is to get just right. This sushi making machine really takes the headache out of the process. All you need to do is add rice and vegetables along the middle. The stick is just pushed down and the sushi is squeezed into a roll, which you can then simply wrap the seaweed around.

Simple and effective design

Sushi chefs make this look pretty, and simple, but for those of us at home who have ever attempted to make sushi before know just how difficult this artform can be. This contraption could really turn me on to a new healthy fast food! And lets not forget how easily one could impressing their loved ones!!

Not sure if Mindsparkz would go with this promo design...

The device is made of several components and therefore can be pretty easily washed, probably even in the dishwasher! Hassle free sushi!

simple to breakdown and wash 

This device is really clever as it turns a really difficult task into something that anyone can do. Check it out at Strapya-World. Now what else could we think up make our kitchen shenanigans run smoother? Spring roll-roller? Ravioli-stuffer? Any ideas?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

News: Mindsparkz design work for local charity

Mindsparkz was recently given the opportunity to be part of a local charity event.  A concert is being held to raise money to send local children to school, and they needed promotion flyers and event collateral. We jumped on this opportunity as a way to give back to this small, seaside community that we love.

Logo developments by one of our crack designers
There are many ways to contribute to a charity aside from donating money.  Giving time and service to a reputable organization can be just as, if not more effective. Offering our design services was an exciting opportunity for us and we knew that the hours we put inwere going to a great cause. 

Our contribution in this process was to design the logo, flyers, posters and all the visual for the Event. It was a great opportunity for us to be involved in a charity that helps our community. It is also great to work alongside with other foreign companies located in Zhuhai. An event like this is really something that can help bring companies together.  We have had the pleasure of forming strong bonds with some of the other businesses.

The event is taking place on September 8th at Zhuhai's Live Bar from 3pm – 9pm so would encourage anyone in town to come down for a drink or two!

A few of the logo and theme ideas from our brainstorming sessions

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beautiful and Sleek Minimalist Honey Packaging

Today I was inspired by the Onuma Honey Jar. The entire product is very much an organic piece, delivering beautiful aesthetics and simple, functional packaging.

Beautiful minimalist packaging

Lets start with the honey jar itself. It is pocket-sized, sleek, and classy. The lid is made from metal, with a traditional Japanese symbol stamped on with a natural red dye. This adds a nice organic touch to the product and increases its visual properties, making it extremely eye-catching and recognizable. The jar is made from translucent glass, presenting the contents simply and clearly.

Natural and biodegradable paper 

Now on to the packaging. The outer casing is made entirely from natural and biodegradable paper, further promoting the product's organic feel and appearance. Again, natural dyes have been chosen as the printing method of which crisp and self explanatory information and pictures can be easily recognized. This allows one to easily judge from the illustrations the nature of the honey and what type of pollen it is made from. Reds, dark purples, and greens have been used for each individual product and contrast extremely well with the natural color of the paper. The net of the packaging is then assembled via a simple strip of adhesive tape. A nice minimal touch indeed.

Decorative hand-stamped designs

Interested in creative package designs?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An awesome new image site with an interesting twist

Like most designers, I find myself sitting (or standing) in front of a monitor for most of my day.  When I'm not painstakingly editing a piece of work, I'm usually searching out stock images.  The uses of stock shots range from blog posts, mockups, final designs, and of course, inspiration.  I've recently come across a new site which posts some amazing ultra high-quality images.  These are not only free, but come with the CC0 (un)license.  Check out Unsplash for yourself and see what they have to offer.

I love pretty much everything about this site.  There are no search capabilities and images are only released ever ten days.  This may seem like a hindrance but I enjoy scrolling down through all of the shots, seeing new beautiful images and coming across old favorites.  It adds to the simplicity of the site.  It exudes a "what you see is what you get attitude", and what you get is really quite impressive.

A CC0 license basically allows anyone to publish their work and then let the rest of the world use it for anything.  By anything I mean just that,  works under this license can be used for personal or commercial use any number of times.  If you're spent hours looking for perfect stock photography like I have, then you will know how hugely awesome this is.  So there you have it, a great new resource for stock photographs, no matter what uses you need them for. Check out

Have a project idea? Lets chat.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Minimal Pop-up Card Corner Lamp

As keen designers at MindSparkz, keeping up with the latest and greatest products and new designs is a part of the daily routine and today one product that caught my attention was the Folding Card Corner Lamp.
Paper pop-out lamp sticks to the wall
Made purely from card, providing simple assembly and whilst looking striking when mounted on a wall, this product perfectly combines aesthetic and functional values. The product works by simply popping out the lamp’s body from the outer frame, due to a number of score lines and cuts in the card. Because of the specific cuts, the shape of the lamp is automatically formed.

What I really like about this product is that way in which it has been manufactured, allowing the product to be made at a very low cost whilst maintaining class and an ‘up-market’ appearance. Plus being a 2-way fold, allows it to be used in literally any environment that has a 90 degree wall join.
Great packaging for shipping and storage

The lamp comes packaged inside an envelope, which also help to keep manufacturing costs low and storage space at a minimum as the lamp can be stacked. Another factor that intrigues me is that nearly any shaped lamp could be formed as it is made entirely from a simple A4 sized sheet of paper. This in turn increases the options available for future designs and ideas, or even possibly a specific shape being made at special request from a consumer.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Awesome and simple way to spruce up your office

As our company has recently acquired a new office, we were faced with the daunting task of sprucing up the place and channeling a creative atmosphere. We thought it may be of interest to have something that represents China in an interesting and useful way. A chalkboard in the shape of china was decided, and I started to plan how we would carry this out.

This is a fun way to spice up your office with little hassle and with next to no cost. The materials are easy to find and most are probably already in the office. I've also included an explanation of how to make a stencil with only an A4 printer

When I made ours we were unsure of exactly what size we wanted it to be so I ended up making 3 versions (which is why I feel like a pro enough to tell you how it’s done!) In fact it was a bit like the story of Goldilocks in the sense that the first was too small, the second too big and the third (finally!) was just right.

How to create the stencil for a blackboard in your home or office:

You will need:

  • Wall space 
  • Blackboard paint (I used this paint
  • A printer 
  • Scissors/craft knife 
  • Sticky Tape 
  • A large and small paint brush 
  • Blu-tack or making tape 

Step one: Choose the right space on the wall.

This is really important as it needs to be accessible and look good! Size is important as you want it to be big enough to write on. Luckily for us, China is shaped like a big chicken, with lots of space for writing

Step two: Trace your shape of choice.

I found an image of china on the internet. I then traced this using a simple line tool on Photoshop, so that I had a high quality black and white version to be printed (If you want to save time and are not bothered about using lots of ink you could just use the original image from the internet).

Step three: Print your image.

I opted to use Microsoft Publisher for this as I knew it had a setting to print on a large scale with the dimensions of my choice. Alternatively you can just use paint and select: Print >Page Setup: Under ‘Scaling’ you can select ‘fit to’ and change it to spread across more pages (eg. 5x5 pages) With this method you should work out your size by multiplying the size of an a4 page (210 x 297mm)

Step four: Putting together the stencil.

I did this using tape. MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR PAGES IN ORDER, so that you can lay them out one by one next to each other. I found it useful to number my pages and then have a singe print to reference. My pages had a slight border to them which I trimmed away. After laying them out on the floor I taped the pages together.

Step five: Reinforce!

Re-enforce your edges. What I did was stick tape over the lines that I would cut over. This makes the edges less flimsy and also stops the paper from getting really wet when you apply the paint.

On the larger version it was necessary to re-enforce the stencil as it was so flimsy. I did this with extra bits of cardboard around the stencil borders. The larger your stencil, the more you will need to re-enforce it.

Step six: Cut the stencil out.

Cutting the stencil out can be a little fiddly depending on how detailed you choose to go. I started off using a craft knife, but then switched to scissors (however scissors were hard with all of the wrist twisting!)

Step seven: Stick up the stencil.

I used sticky-tack to hold my stencil but masking tape probably would be fine. If it is a larger size I would use a fair bit of masking tape to hold it on securely. Stickyack or masking tape is a must for the detailed edges of the stencil as we don't want any paint getting underneath.

Step eight: Paint!

Make sure to prepare your surface, and follow instructions on your paint can. I used normal blackboard paint, but if you can get the proper spray-paint that would work equally well. I painted the middle section first and then worked my way to the edges. A smaller brush is best for the detailed spots. I found that dabbing my paintbrush with a little paint over the edges worked better than slapping a lot of paint on as there were some areas that got blotchy.

Step nine: Admire your masterpiece.

Leave it to dry with the stencil attached and then remove it once dry to admire your finished piece!

What do you think about our new blackboard? Any ideas of some other creative uses?

If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the box below

Here are some other articles that you may find interesting. Maybe a blackboard fridge would look good in our office and make use of the rest of our blackboard paint!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Special Offer on Design - August 2013

Over here at the Mindsparkz office we've decided to take a tip from Emeril and "kick it up a notch".  We came up with two great offers for our first-time clients.   Both these offers are available on a limited time basis so hurry and apply now.  
  • 30 minute express logo development for 30 US dollars! - This entails 3 of our outstanding graphics designers putting their heads together for a half-hour session of intense brainstorming. That's one and a half hours of think-tank time!  We'll then come back to you with our sketch work and our top choice as a black and white render.
  •  For our product developers out there... A hand-sketched design concept based on your personal brief for only 50 US dollars! Go ahead, stop over to the Mindsparkz main site and request our questionnaire. (This offer limited to 2 hours of working time. Things are hectic around here!)
That's all folks, check back often for more killer deals from  your new favorite design team! BAM!

Get in touch and start a conversation with us.

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