BARREL: Fish & Monkeys The things we see, hear, say, and do at Barrel. Mon, 06 Oct 2008 05:11:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Peace Out: F&M No More Mon, 06 Oct 2008 05:09:21 +0000 This is the end of the line for the Fish & Monkeys blog. We have a brand new website, and unfortunately, this blog didn’t make the cut. From now on, we’ll be switching over to Posterous for our news, links, and other bits of content, and the latest entries will be displayed on our homepage (grab the RSS feed here).

Well, as a farewell, here are a few entries from May 2006 to October 2008 that we think are worth a revisit:

Postcard from Seoul, Korea

Bottled Gifts: What We Sent

Postcard from Northern California
Jumping the Gun on Thanksgiving

New Barrel Site: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger!
Wine Boxing

The Barrel Extreme Makeover (Part 1 of 3)
The Barrel Extreme Makeover (Part 2 of 3)
The Barrel Extreme Makeover (Part 3 of 3)

The Barrel Workspace (in Astoria, Queens)

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Two T-shirts for Pre-Order Wed, 03 Sep 2008 17:35:32 +0000 We’re excited about our new t-shirts that’ll be available in a couple of weeks.

We’ve set up a Barrel store using Big Cartel (it’s so easy!)

Barrel store on Big Cartel

The first t-shirt is an Awesome Creatures Underground shirt in the vein of our popular Awesome Opossum shirt. We’re not going to release the design of it yet, but you can pre-order today and save yourself five bucks (orig. $20) plus free shipping.

The second shirt is a versatile political shirt that celebrates this year’s Presidential Election with a clever design. We think people will have lots of fun with it, and this too, is available for pre-order for five bucks less (orig. $15) and free shipping.

And in case you’re buying for Autumn weather, check out our Barrel Athletics long sleeve, going for $17 a piece.

Please visit the Barrel store and check it out!

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The Gobbl Feed and New Brink Issue Sun, 27 Jul 2008 22:03:20 +0000 For the past month, we’ve been focusing on creating fresh, original content for The Gobbl Feed, our daily blog accompanying our restaurant blogging network site, Gobbl. If you haven’t checked it out, please do! Props to our interns Cindi and Pierce, who’ve really done a great job growing the blog.

The Gobbl Feed

We’re also pleased to announce the sixth issue of Brink Magazine. This month’s issue features some top-notch fiction, so if you’re in a short-story reading mood, please check it out!

Brink Magazine July 2008

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Going Mad for Mad Men Wed, 09 Jul 2008 15:37:09 +0000 We’re pumped for season 2, which starts July 27th. If you haven’t caught Mad Men on AMC yet, check out this entry by Michael Bierut on Design Observer which does a great job summing up the moments that really made the show exciting for us the first season.

A taste:

Yesterday, we received the first season DVD, which we ordered from Amazon. Smoking, which dominates the screen in many episodes, is reflected in the package design, shaped as a lighter and the CDs arranged to simulate the flame.

Mad Men DVD

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Growling on a Saturday Sat, 21 Jun 2008 20:56:20 +0000 We have to admit – we sometimes find work more appealing on weekends. Whether it’s to take care of bills and other paperwork or to get a head start for the next week, we like rolling in after brunch and hanging around the office for a few hours. It’s a good feeling – no calls from clients, no urgent deadlines (in most cases), and we can play music without worrying about anyone else in the building (we’re usually the only ones here).

And of course, there’s the drinks-before-5PM-without-guilt factor. Today, I happened to walk by Grab, a specialty food store in Park Slope, and noticed their growlers – 64 fl oz. jugs – and their selection of three beers: Brooklyn Summer Ale, Hitachino Nest White Ale, and Sixpoint Bengali Tiger. The growlers went for $4.95 each (refundable if you bring them back) and to fill up, they cost $9.95, $22.95, and $12.95, respectively. I bought all three, Brooklyn Summer Ale for a party later today, the Hitachino Nest White Ale for home, and the Sixpoint for the office.

Grab Growler - Sixpoint Bengali Tiger

Grab did a great job in designing the growler – simple, 2-color type design with some clever wordplay.

Grab Growler - the back of the jug with text

The back of the jug, with the fun symbol art equation and the well-written fine text is a nice example of how good design can transform take-out beer into a memorable consumer experience.

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New Work: MorePeaceCorps Mon, 16 Jun 2008 16:53:30 +0000 We’re feeling mighty good today. Just one week ago, we were anxious about the daunting task of building a website in just five days. The layout designs and site map had been approved but a number of tasks lay ahead: gathering all the content, coding all the pages, installing the content management system, creating the Flash and Javascript elements, checking for browser compatibility, etc. Basically, stuff that usually takes a month or two. But it’s projects like these that can make the business of web design fun and rewarding. Some background and screenshots:

MorePeaceCorps is a national outreach campaign by the National Peace Corps Association to reinvigorate the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps, a creation of the Kennedy administration back in 1961, has been experiencing a steady decline in both the number of volunteers and the funding appropriated by Congress. This campaign, by creating a strong network of returned volunteers, lawmakers, and leaders, hopes to increase Federal funding and to raise awareness about the importance of Peace Corps to America’s global image.

We began the project on May 13 with the goal of launching the site for an important conference on June 14. A few other milestones were set – to have a logo in place by May 23 and to launch an interim website by May 30.

Our approach to the logo was to keep it simple, keep it flexible, and to make it friendly yet bold. We opted for Hoefler & Frere-Jones’s Gotham Rounded as the typeface and a bordered circle as the shape. After a couple rounds of back and forth, showing variations in colors and text arrangement, we narrowed the choices to two final logos and eventually selected the winner:


Next was the interim site. We initially thought about something extremely simple – perhaps a one-pager with some text and the logo slapped on top – but the abundance of great photographs made us want to try something different. The layout was pretty much a one-pager, but we decided to use the logo on top as a frame for a dozen-photo slideshow and also broke down the content into the three words of the tagline: Bigger, Better, and Bolder. This way, a visitor could get a clear sense of the campaign’s goals in a format different from the standard mission statement.



With the logo and interim site out of the way, we focused our attention on the design of the website. We wanted it to be colorful, fun, informative, and energetic – a site that would convey the process of reinvigoration. With this in mind, we assembled a palette of bright colors – orange, bright green, and magenta – to complement the blue colors. We then focused on the navigation and layout of the site, to make sure everything would be easily found and readable.

Here’s how the homepage turned out:


and the News & Events page:


For the content management system, we used Expression Engine, which we think matches the needs of this site very well, especially in the management of the numerous states pages. We also created a Flickr group pool for MorePeaceCorps to encourage returned and current volunteers to upload photos to share with visitors to the site. We used FlickrSlidr for the slideshow.

By June 13, after what seemed like an endless week, everything had come together very nicely. The site received positive feedback from the NPCA staff and was fully operational. It was presented at the NPCA conference in Pocantico on the 14th . Yesterday, we came in for a few hours and put in some finishing touches, made some tweaks, and officially launched the website. There’s still some more content that’ll be added later, but for now, a big “whew” and some catching up to do on other projects.


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Working With Constraints Fri, 06 Jun 2008 22:33:48 +0000 rumsprite.jpg

From the ingredients left over from our party last weekend, we concocted a Friday late afternoon delight.

2 oz. of Bacardi Gold rum
4 oz. of Sprite
half a lime, cut into fourths

A White Cuba Libre?

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A Couple New Looks Fri, 23 May 2008 05:33:27 +0000 It feels like our various projects are colluding with each other to make sure they will all be launched at the same time rather than the staggered releases we had planned for. Such is the nature of the business!

In the meantime, a couple of sites to share:

We updated and improved the look and feel of the site for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders, a wonderful non-profit doing great work for high school students in the City.

We also launched the site for Kouzan, a Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side:

We’re currently working on some exciting client projects, and we’re also eager to release new features and content for Gobbl. Also, if you’re looking to throw parties this summer, check out high-quality DJ equipment for rental on – we couldn’t help playing around with the strobe lights at work the other day.

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We’re Turning Two! Come Over! Thu, 15 May 2008 04:16:11 +0000 lolcatparty.jpg

Barrel will be turning 2 years old in a couple of weeks. Perfect excuse to throw a little party, no? Come join us May 31st at our place. Details and RSVP here.

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New Brink Issue: Variety for the Homepage Sun, 20 Apr 2008 00:18:24 +0000 We’re excited to announce the fifth issue of Brink Magazine, our fast-growing online literary publication. In addition to the wonderful short stories and poetry in this issue, we were blessed as creative directors to have beautiful photography submissions to use on the homepage. To maximize the dramatic effect of the photos, we made full use of the top box and decided to feature only one photo at a time. Since Brink is published quarterly (and updated only 4 times a year), we thought having the homepage randomly rotate between the selected photos of the two featured photographers would help extend the freshness of the site. We hope you enjoy!

When you visit the site, you may see either of these (press refresh on your browser to see both):



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