Archive for ‘design’

4 Mar 2009

Tempesthole in How Top Ten

How Magazine's Top Ten

I received a pleasant email from the Senior Editor of How Magazine. It informed me that has been chosen as one of their Top 10 Sites for Designers for this month, March 2009.

A utterly and completely unexpected honor but no less appreciated. It’s nice to see the effort I’ve put into the site doesn’t go unnoticed. Thank you very much, How.

8 Dec 2008

Update: Tempesthole 2.0

I finally finished what I’ve been working on for the past month or so: Tempesthole version 2. Mostly I just needed a site that’s easier to update and manage so that I might actually update it more than once a year. Expect updates at least twice a year from now on – every other year. As always, the new stuff shows up on the blog first, so you might want to subscribe to the feed if you haven’t already.

Anyway, have a look around the new site. I like think It’s matured like any fine lady should, becoming slightly more charming and considerably heavier than before. If you find anything that isn’t broken (images, links, etc.) please let me know and I’ll do my best to break them too. Please update your bookmarks as well.

Here’s an illustration to fit the theme:

Under the Hood

What actually is under the hood is WordPress with a custom theme specifically developed this purpose.

20 Sep 2007

Skull Emoticons v1.1 – Now in Green too!

I was kindly asked if I could do green versions of my blue skull smileys for Unit 16 forums, so here they are. I’ve also noticed that the set was missing a few fairly basic ones so I added those too. They’re the last four of the sets.

:) :D LOL ;) :P :b :( :[ :...( :o
:O x[ :/ :| x.x 8) B) love oops grumble
whatever sexy radioactive beer

And here are the new, green ones:

:) :D LOL ;) :P :b :( :[ :...( :o
:O x[ :/ :| x.x 8) B) love oops grumble
whatever sexy radioactive beer

And, again, you can download both sets as a single zip-file. And again, of instant messengers they should work with at least MSN and Pidgin.

Download Skull Emoticons V1.1

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

24 Aug 2007

Blue Skull Smileys – Complete Set

It was brought to my knowledge that the smileys I posted earlier didn’t work with MSN messenger. Well, that wasn’t really a surprise, since I hadn’t even thought that they could be used that way too. But it gave me a push to work on them a little more – well, actually completely redoing them.

The problem with MSN was that it uses 19 px emoticons instead of the 16 px I’d done. That fit me fine, since I’d already thought of doing bigger versions of them, to get clearer expressions. And true enough, the extra 3 pixels make a big difference and the new ones were much easier to do too.

I don’t think I’ll go into any detail about the design process – so here’s the full set of the twenty emoticons:

:) :D LOL ;) :P :b :( :[ :...( :o
:O x[ :/ :| x.x 8) B) love oops grumble

Or you can download the whole set as a single zip-file too. Have fun and use however you see fit.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

13 Aug 2007

Emoticons Galore

I had a go at creating emoticons. They were kind of made for Stylus -forums, but I treated this more like a personal exercise, and the chance to try doing something unfamiliar.

I was using 16 x 16 pixels format for these – and that feels really small. The main goal I had was to keep the expressions as clear as possible – which meant keeping them really simple – while getting some unique character for them on the side. Turned out keeping them just legible is quite a task in itself. No wonder the round, basic smileys are so popular: they work really well!

First round: Pretty basic:

Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

Second round: Skulls. Thought these were a bit unclear in parts and the white color isn’t the best one to use with these. Some other color for the skin pops out the eye and teeth whites better – thus making the expressions clearer:

Skull Smiley Skull Smiley Skull Smiley Skull Smiley Skull Smiley Skull Smiley

Third round: Simpler skulls with blue face. They’re perharps a bit too dark for this background:

Blue Skull Smiley Blue Skull Smiley Blue Skull Smiley Blue Skull Smiley Blue Skull Smiley Blue Skull Smiley Blue Skull Smiley

It’s hard stuff – more respect for the designers and pixel artists that are actually good at this stuff.

13 Jun 2007

Study in Finnish Lapland – campaign

AdBlock may block some the images in this post, so if you’re using it, you might want to disable it momentary – no ads on the site anyway.

This one’s a project I did for The University of Lapland’s International Office. It included a magazine ad, some editorial material, a website and a small printed brochure to lure exchange students to the three higher education institutes located in Finnish Lapland: Kemi-Tornio University of Applied Sciences, Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences and the University of Lapland. For more info on the schools or the project, you can visit


The first that that had do be done was the magazine ad and the editorial material for the article. I only had a couple a days to both come up with an idea, that would be both fairly fast to execute with the materials at hand (I only had the couple of days for it) and could be expanded to cover the whole campaign.

I came up with an idea of combining monotone illustrations of student characters with actual photos of the school premises. That way the illustrations would work as a unifying graphic element – as well as making the promotional material pop from the other schools’ mostly stuffy, official and highly similar ads. All this had to be accomplished without compromising the credibility of the schools.

Here are the ad and one of the images from the magazine article (the other was just a basic photo collage without illustration).

The Magazine Ad The Magazine Illustration

The next step was to design and produce the mentioned website for the campaign, which included doing a few more illustrations for the site’s headers. To avoid using images just for their visuals I included maps of the schools’ locations in the headers.

And as the last phase, I designed the eight page brochure of the campaign. Again a few new illustrations and I modified a couple I’d already used. Here’s a couple of spreads from the brochure and an photo with an illustration:

Brochure Spreads
Photo with an Illustration

And finally, the characters compiled into a single image as well as one of the illustrations from the brochure.

All the Characters Characters from Rovaniemi

NOTE: None of the photos are mine and their rights belong to their respective owners. They are either from the archives of the schools, the media archive of the city of Rovaniemi or

23 May 2007

Birthday Card for Shane

As a community activity, we’re doing custom birthday cards for seven year old Shane Bernier who’s suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has wished for people to send him cards on his birthday. He’s aiming at 350 million cards to break the record of the current holder.

This is Shane:


It’s a nice change of pace doing something for charity. Probably one the reasons I got my lazy ass to actually doing this is that just a week ago I was exposed to this, and I still feel a little affected. Fucking awful, I’m feeling bad just typing a blog entry about that stuff.

Here’s the card I came up with:

Shane of the Fast Lane

Now, Shane’s birthday is in just a few days – on 30th of May – but I’m sure he won’t mind cards arriving late. So, especially if you’re within reasonable mailing distance, drop the boy a card.

Edit: I can’t help but feel a bit like an asshole for submitting this to IF with the nature of the site being self promotion as it is. Nevertheless, it is a new piece and fits the theme ("Cars") a little too well for me to pass.

I suppose it might be a bit more exposure for Shane’s effort too.

14 Feb 2007

Valentine’s Day

Apparently I got swept up in a wave of sentimentality this valentine’s day. I actually whipped up a VALENTINE’S DAY CARD! When was the last time that happened? Sixth grade?

So, this is me embracing the world.

Happy Valentine's Day!

That’s it, I plead temporary insanity. Back to brooding.

12 Jan 2007

Martti Mykkänen at Process Junkie

This is old news, since Alberto Ruiz already posted this stuff on his wonderful blog in last spring, but I’d say it’s pretty valid especially to all Finnish designers and illustrators.

In Alberto’s words: Born in 1926 in Finland, the godfather of constructivist graphic design.

Martti Mykkänen's work

Click the image above to view the whole blog entry with several impressive book covers and illustrations. Check out the whole blog while you’re at it, Mr Ruiz’s stylish sketches of women are well worth the look. A word of warning though, he has the RadioBlogClub player blaring away on the blog and it can be really loud if you get caught by surprise.