I recently had the opportunity to spend the bulk of my allotted vacation days on a trip across the great US of A with one of my dearest friends. Approximately 50-ish hours in the car, totaling near 3,500 miles, put us in the great city of Boston where she will be attending grad school to become a nurse practitioner. Who wants to spend that many hours in the car? I however, was pumped to put together a kick ass playlist of music and podcasts, hit the open road and really see some country! I am a firm believer that one should travel as much as you can. It’s humbling and inspiring to learn just how much you don’t really know. Besides being able to check many things off my bucket list, I took this as an opportunity to get out of the Boise bubble and take in some rad design.
Rolling in at about dinner time, we stopped at a pizza place where I noticed a typical table tent but – behold! The Illusive Traveler Beer Company. Even being a self-proclaimed beer connoisseur, I can’t really tell you whether the beer is quality or not, but if design is any indicator of good product, I’d say they’re doing it right. Good design means good business, and I approve of this. I’m looking forward to picking up a six pack on my next trip to the grocery store.
Yellowstone National Park
Day two was spent touring around Yellowstone, checking the out the obvious tourist trap – Ol’ Faithful. I never have high expectations for tourist gift shops of any sort, but sometimes its fun to peek at all of the junk. This tourist shop was momma of all tourist shops, impressing me left and right. I had to forcibly walk away from multiple shirts and various mugs. Still just junk, but it goes to show that not every tourist shop has to be filled with lame trash. But that’s just my opinion.
A few days further down the road, after a delightful breakfast in Madision, WI we took a few minutes to walk around a few blocks of downtown. Rounding a street block, I laid my eyes on something magnificent. A row of food carts. Yes, street food people! A pretty prime area for such a business, it seemed to be a high traffic area for many suits, who will need to eat lunch at some time in their important day. I’ve seen a food truck or two in my day, however, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a grilled cheese cart. Brilliant! Named MELTED, I loved the modern design of geometric elements and a beautiful color palette. No shame for grabbing your grown up grilled cheese here.
My favorite city of the trip, hands down, was the old town of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After some research on this particular city, I found out that over 60% of the population speaks French (which very apparent through signage and random conversation). I was also pleased to discover that Montreal has been the home of the International Council of Graphic Design Association since 2005. No wonder I feel completely in love with the place! The old town had variety of buildings that provided a legacy of history and architecture, that now were filled with various shops and eateries.
Destination point: Boston. I was able to spend a solid day walking around the history-filled streets checking out Faneuil Hall, the North End, and ending the day in Fenway Park – the oldest ballpark in the MLB. I was impressed with the way design in these areas were handled, obviously updated yet true to the style of great 1900’s typography.
Boston is a world leader in innovation for a variety of reasons, so along with all the history, there were all sorts of ingenious little market shops with branding that would knock anyone’s socks off.
I once heard that brands should strive to create memories. What good is a brand if it doesn’t evoke an experience? Not only did these great pieces of design leave a mark on me, but I came back to the great city of Boise feeling inspired and enlightened after having had connected with real people and cultures not a part of my everyday.