Whilst we recently spent a week over in Dallas and New York meeting clients and taking part in some very exciting creative sessions, we thought we’d put a small blog post together about some of the really awesome creative areas that we had time to explore whilst visiting.
Deep Ellum - Dallas, Texas
This was an area on the outskirts of Dallas city centre, just east of downtown, that we heard had some really cool shops, bars and restaurants popping up and a great creative culture since it’s fairly recent gentrification process.
We decided to spend a few hours walking around during the day and also go back and night when it started to get a bit more lively. Both our experiences here we really enjoyed and would definitely recommend if you’re ever visiting Dallas. On the grid describes it as a unique intersection of art, music, history, amazing food, and companies who are doing something different and we can’t argue with that.
Located in East Dallas, which is quite a bit further out than Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville is a smaller neighbourhood out in the suburbs of Dallas. It was closer to where our hotel was located and we’d heard from the locals that there was a really cool scene over there so decided to jump in an uber one afternoon and stay through to the evening to see what all the fuss was about.
We certainly weren't disappointed. A mix of charming old establishments and exciting new ones with new flavour make for a great mix in urban Dallas. We visited some really exciting and interesting bars and eateries and one that stood out in particular was called TruckYard. This is basically an open backyard filled with mish-mashed seating areas, street food vendors that change daily and even it’s very own treehouse!
Other places we’d recommend are Good Records for their extensive selection of vinyl. Voodoo Chile Thirft Store for a trippy but thoroughly enjoyable experience with Crazy Jimi who offered us a glass of vino and a tour around his weird and wonderful shop. And last but not least, Greenville Avenue Pizza Company, for the tastiest slice in Dallas.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn - New York
Our Flight back from Dallas was via New York, so we were lucky enough to be able to spend 24 hours in NYC exploring the creative scene. We stayed in the McCarren Hotel and Pool, which is located in North Williamsburg, just around the corner from the infamous Brooklyn Brewery and just a short walk away from Bedford Avenue which is littered with brilliant independent shops, bars, coffee shops and restaurants. The once grittier-than-grit neighbourhood has dramatically changed its image and now has worldwide appeal, attracting folk from all over to create and cultivate.
Our favourite place during our (very short) stay had to be The Meatball Shop, located on the Upper East Side, just off Bedford Avenue, specialising in, you guessed it, meatballs. We ordered using marker pens on the check-box style menu which was a pretty neat idea and chose the classic beef meatballs and tomato sauce on a brioche bun. These were literally the most delicious meatballs we’ve ever eaten and definitely recommend this one if you’re ever visiting NYC.
Our other top Brooklyn picks would be visiting the Brooklyn Bridge for a slice of history and an excellent view of the New York City skyline from across the water. Walking around and getting up close to the hand-painted (Yes, really, hand-painted) billboards around the local area. Visit Brooklyn Brewery for a tour and some free samples. And last but not least, Breakfast at Bagelsmith for the tastiest bagels that have ever entered our bellies!
All in all, a great trip for business and a bit of pleasure too. Our small slice of two very different cultures of America was eye-opening and inspiring. We’re looking forward to taking some of our American inspiration into our upcoming projects.
We recently had Jordan in for a few weeks to help us out with a variety of live projects. One of the latest and greatest graduates from the Graphic Design course at Leeds College of Art - his talents and creativity helped us out a whole lot and we hope we helped Jordan in some way on his journey too. Plus points for knowing all the words to Shook Ones Part II by Mobb Deep...
Jordan's approach is based on design, branding and illustration informed by a strong emphasis on concept and craft.
We asked Jordan about how he found his time here and this is how it went.
How did you hear about Alphabet?
The Alphabet boys (Abbas, Sam & Seb) were all in the year above me at university and had always produced work that was stylish, considered and really set a high benchmark for quality. Through knowing them at university I already followed their work on portfolio platforms like Behance and actually initially found out they had started their own studio through a social media platform online.
What made you want to work with us?
I was already following Abbas, Sam & Seb’s work individually and found the design they were producing balanced style, concept and function in a way that was both memorable and really appealed to my personal taste. Also, the idea of eventually starting or founding my own studio has always interested me, so the chance to gain some first-hand knowledge from a group of young, ambitious designers that were already making moves was really appealing.
What projects did you work on?
During my first few days in the studio I was working on developing merchandise concepts for a new music label, dropping the outcomes I developed into a client ready proposal. From the get go they had me working on live projects so I really hit the ground running to make sure that the work I created was both up to scratch and was produced at high level of productivity the guys all work at. Other projects they had me working on while I was there included branding proposals for the new Leeds Kirkgate Market, merchandise concepts for Tiesto and a branding proposal for a huge LinkedIn networking event.
Learning so much in such a short period of time. The pronunciation of Jiu-jitsu (Jouuu-ji-suuuu).
What was it like being in the studio?
The guys were friendly, relaxed but super focused which made for a great working atmosphere – Add in daily MMA updates from Joe Rogan and studio banter and you're onto a winner.
What did you learn that stuck with you?
Take your work beyond the standard deliverables, consider each projects true scope and create work that inspires innovation.
It was a pleasure having Jordan as part of the team for a while and we wish you the best of luck with everything!