Category Archives: Design Resources

The Rabbit Hole Ideation Cafe opening soon…

I’ve recently stumbled across the Facebook page for a new cafe and it caught my eye. Set to open soon, the West End cafe combines my two great interests: design and coffee. The Rabbit Hole Ideation Cafe will be a space for creative types to meet, share ideas, tackle briefs and brainstorm concepts.

The cafe will provide individual workstations of three varieties:

  • drop in desks for once off visits
  • semi-permanent desks if you go there on a part time basis
  • long term desks, booked per month.

All desks are equipped with power to plug in your laptop, internet connection, but best of all… $2 coffees! And it’s not just any coffee, it’s specialty coffee brewed by champion barista, Tim Adams.

The Rabbit Hole Ideation cafe also includes a board room, which can be booked to meet with clients, brainstorm ideas or collaborate with a team of creatives. The board room will have blank walls and designers will be encouraged to use the walls as a blank canvas to write/draw/scribble their ideas and thoughts.

I love that this new concept cafe is encouraging creativity in Brisbane. Can’t wait for it to open!

Yours in ideas and coffee,


Lomography Society

The Lomography Society  is still strong, armed with a new website displaying new products and keen Lomography enthusiasts sharing their lomo-style photos.

The Lomography craze came about when two Austrian art students, Wolfgang Stranzinger and Matthias Fiegl, stumbled across a second-hand Lomo in a Prague op-shop. Knowing it was a spy camera they took on the spy persona and captured their surroundings shooting from the hip in haphazard directions as opposed to the traditional camera composition.

The results were random moody shots, which boasted obscure light effects against vibrant colour and movement. They spread the word and students from all over Vienna were became obsessed with the spy style that is Lomography. Lomos began appearing as installations at raves; a self defined interpretation of the youth culture. And so, the Lomographic revolution began.

They’ve even set 10 golden rules to live by:

1. Take your camera everywhere you go.
2. Use it any time – day and night.
3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it.
4. Try the shot from the hip.
5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.
6. Don’t think.
7. Be fast.
8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film.
9. Afterwards either.
10. Don’t worry about any rules.

I’ve been following Lomography for a while now and hope that one day they will bring out a digital camera as I have lost the will for slide/film. Until the digital Lomo comes out I will keep cheating with the ‘Hipstamatic’ iPhone ap. Here are my results with my iPhone 3…

Yours in Photography,
Amber van Sloten


Get your chalk out!

I am always a sucker for good old hand-drawn typography, but hand-drawn typography on a blackboard is just another level of amazement.
Seeing as my blackboard writing skills were clearly tragic when I worked at a school, Dana Tanamachi is my new idol. Take a look at some of her work!

DT Flourish Finished


tanamachi target alphabet decals

tanamachi target home sign




If you want to see more, take a look at her website here.

Semi-Permanent Hits Brisbane This Friday


Are you one of the lucky ones to score a ticket to Semi-Permanent in Brisbane this Friday? I hope so, because this year’s conference is looking pretty awesome and tickets are sold out!

Every year in 8 cities across the world Semi-Permanent showcases the best in graphic design, film, fine art, illustration, web design, interactive design, photography, visual effects, animation, graffiti, motion graphics, stop motion, architecture, and much more. This year the Brisbane line up includes: T-World, Toby Dixon, Gemma O’Brien, Supervixen, Sam Leach, Reg Mombassa, Kelly Thompson and Webuyyourkids. It’s always an amazing and inspiring day held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

There’s always a couple of side events, so if you’re free make sure you get down to the:

– Etcc Exhibition from 6-9pm at Sh00ting Gallery (105 Bowen Street, Spring Hill) featuring Anthony Lister, RINZEN, Sebastian Moody
– Webuyyourkids – John Carpenter Exhibition from 6pm at Nine Lives Gallery (5F Winn St, Fortitude Valley)
– Semi-Permanent After Party from 7-11pm at Nine Lives Gallery (5F Winn St, Fortitude Valley)

A few of us from Brio Group will be there so make sure you come and say hi!

Yours in inspiration,

5 Top Tips for Styling Dinner Parties

I recently joined a team of creative women for a huddle in the recent event for the Saviours of the Lost Arts 2011 program run by the Brisbane City Council.

The aim, to acquire new ideas for styling dinner parties and events. We have such a hoot throwing around ideas for our future events and even getting hands on with props supplied by the event hosts.

Here is a simple list to run through to start planning your next dinner party.

1. Greeting – What will greet your attendees at their entrance? a refreshing drink, canopes, tour of the new house, amazing viewing deck!…

2. Table setting – Have you picked a theme for the party? Choose 3-5 descriptive words e.g. French, simply elegant, pretty in pink. Now apply this theme to your table setting which could consist of a pretty runner or table cloth, candles, flowers, cute little fish in a huge glass vase…

3. Centre Piece – What is the main attraction? a special cake, a dessert bar, an arty area for everyone to contribute to the piece!? Get creative and inspire…

4. Lighting – Is it a day time event, dinner or supper time when all the kids have gone to sleep? Inside or outside… do you have the sun for natural lighting or do you need help with candles, coloured lighting or even spotlights around the pool?

5. Food decorations – cookbooks or recipes displayed? carved fruit, ice sculpture or garnishing. Buffet or served on elegant plates. Remember it needs to suit your party ‘theme’ so it all ties together.

Images courtesy of Explore their site for some great ideas.

So what’s your next event? Happy planning!

Yours in Party Planning,
Amber van Sloten

Effective creative brainstorming

Sitting down and collectively brainstorming for a campaign can generate some amazing results and be a lot of fun if the sessions are run well. Running brainstorming or idea generation sessions well will save time by keeping the ideas on track. They will produce a bigger haul of valuable ideas and build structured freedom and prevent sessions of destructive chaos. The question is, how can you define a creative process into a system that you can duplicate over and over?

I will share with you an idea management process, that when followed provides amazing results. The process is separated into four stages: Brief and Goal Formulation, Idea Generation, Idea Development and Selection, and Implementation.

Brief and Goal Formulation: Reduce all the information you have collected from the brief, client meetings, documentation and your own previous experience into a simple proposition: the GOAL. Formulating the goal in advance reduces what can seem to be a complex brief into a clear strategy (a single direction). e.g. How can we achieve xyz?

Idea Generation: At this stage the most important thing is for your imagination to run free and for the team to feel inspired and don’t impose any restrictions on them. The bigger the pile of ideas the better (aim for anything upto 300 raw ideas).

Idea Development and Selection: this is where the creativity is inserted, as now is the opportunity to turn ideas into stronger/better ideas. Go through the ideas that have been listed out and build on the good ones and throw out the weak ones. Refine the ideas down to three or four to take through to the fourth stage.

Implementation: Now it is over the art director/s to work up the concept to take it to the next level in the creative process.

I will outline more about this in my future blogs.

Yours in brainstorming,


Creative creatures of Mochimochi Land

There’s something about the ridiculously cute characters of Mochimochi Land that has me running to Spotlight in search of knitting needles and wool. I don’t now how to knit, I have zero patience and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the world’s worst knitter but I feel compelled to try some of the awesome tutorials. Anna Hrachovec’s knitted toys are so creative and CUTE – I just want them all! I had no idea knitting could be so creative and the site is definitely worth a look:

Yours in cute characters,

Functional turns decorative

Check out this fantastically creative fence art designed and produced by Dutch design outfit: DemarkersvanLace Fence. Dutch design strikes again!!!

Images by Lace Fence.

Lace Fence have crafted something which was purely functional with a hostile stigma into something aesthetic and decorative while still functional. They have crafted a variety of designs ranging from lace florals to contemporary designs. Their design range is not limited to these, as they are taking on new projects, each with their own weird and wonderful structures and briefs to work with.

I wish I discovered Lace Fence before I invested thousand$$ in my home fencing renovations!!!

Yours in beautiful home renovations!
Amber van Sloten

Winners announced at Cannes Lions Festival

We’re all very excited about the Cannes Lions Festival which is currently in full swing. Shortlists and winners are being announced daily at the Cannes Lions website and diary entries from Aussie representatives at Cannes are being detailed at Campaign Brief.

The festival describes itself as ‘the world’s only truly global meeting place for creative professionals’ and to win a ‘Cannes Lion’ is widely regarded as the most prestigious award in our industry. The best global talent is showcased over seven days and 57 sessions, and thought-leaders and experts come together to inspire, debate and entertain.

To celebrate the festival Youngbloods are hosting an event at Limes Hotel tomorrow for a night of screening, judging and drinking. $15 will get you entry, a free drink on arrival and canapes. Not to mention the priceless opportunity to hear some of Brisbane’s top dogs cast their vote on who will win what at Cannes. They’ll also be giving away 1 x AdSchool Workshop and a lunch date with a professional in your chosen field on the night.

Tickets are limited and must be purchased prior to the event, buy them here:

But if you can’t make it you can still view highlights from the Festival, interviews with the speakers and photos from around the Palais, as well as all the winners as they are announced, here.

Yours in advertising,

Design considerations

I chose this TED Talk to share with the Brio Group team this morning as I liked how Thomas Heatherwick’s London Architect firm considered their designs in a holistic approach. Not only did they consider the impact their designs have on the existing natural and built environment, but they also considered how it affects the audience which are not persay the people working or residing in the buildings but also the general public and passers by.

Heatherwick Studio conceptualises beautifully creative buildings that invite participation and provoke feelings/moments.

I hope you enjoy this TED Talk as much as we did.

Another TED Talk which I discovered and loved, was by a woman of my own heart… Jessi Arrington buys and wears only second hand clothing to reduce her impact on the environment [high 5 sister!]. She has a fantastic personality and rocks in her colourful outfits! She says, “If you believe you’re a beautiful person inside and out, there is no look you can’t pull off!’ Here is another feel good TED Talk…

Yours in awesome TED Talks!
Amber van Sloten