Game Faces

A void adjacent to a former wood burning fireplace that once held logs is now the home for family board games. But how does one know what is within?

By etching the memorable logos for over 30 games and randomly placing them around the cabinet faces indicates the contents and perhaps their arrangement within. The subtle black on black finish blends into the context and enables discovery upon closer inspection. The cabinet faces open with push hardware so as not to disrupt the graphic aesthetic.

The logos chosen are unique. They are of popular cultural significance and bridge generation gaps. This resonance engenders acceptance and adds a bit of whimsy much like the board games found within.

Satin painted, laser etched MDF panels


Tips for New Dads

No matter how “ready” you think you are, after having a child you quickly realize that you are not prepared.  This is especially the case for fathers.  During that first month, fathers’ roles are fairly limited.  The mother runs the show and the father’s job is to do what is asked of them.  After that period, fathers become more needed to directly care for the child.

The Tips for New Dads book, which can be downloaded here, is a guide based on real life experiences.  The DIY book offers advice that makes new fathers look like heroes, avoid potential disasters and makes them look like they know what they are doing.

We recommend that you print both sheets on 60lb paper or heavier for the right feel.  Just score along the dashed lines and cut on the center solid line, fold each page into a pinwheel and glue the blank sides in page order.  Seems complex, but it’s really not. If you use the guide, let us know how it is working or if you want us to add a tip.Tips for new dads Tips for new dads2

Alphabet CPH

cph book (4)Cities can be defined by built landmarks as well as the signage and logos that decorate their streets.  This DIY book displays letters in alphabetical order from prominent logos found in Copenhagen.  Each letter is enhanced by an accompanying contrasting background and serves as a means to extend the memory of walking Copenhagen’s streets.

You can download your own copy here for your amusement or to educate børn (Danish letters are excluded.) Also, there’s an additional set of pages with images of famous Danish chairs, designs and terms with room to add your own.  We recommend that you print all five sheets on 60lb paper or heavier for the right feel.  Just score along the dashed lines and cut on the center solid line, fold each page into a pinwheel and glue the blank sides in page order.  Seems complex, but it’s really not.  Drop us a note to tell us how it is working.

ALPHA CPH2 image cph book (3) cph book (2)




50 States

Living in Center City, Philadelphia, we are constantly amazed by how the “birthplace of the nation” also seems to be the residence of the nation.  Within two blocks of our studio we can count license plates from 23 states as a daily average.  Our highest in one afternoon walk was 39.5. (D.C.)   Turns out Arkansans do not get around much, but the elusive Hawaiians and even Alaskans do.

We thought making a checklist might be a fun activity for kids in strollers or bored children on long road trips.  Thus, we made a periodic table of states in the order of their statehood.  All 50 are represented along with spots for Washington D.C., Municipal, Government, Temporary.  It’s in Helvetica, of course.

Download the 50 States PDF here.  There are two per letter sized sheet.  We recommend printing double-sided for four.  Drop us a note to tell us how it is working or if you’ve beaten our 24-hour record.50STATESEnjoy!



Welcome, Albert


Set within a storefront on a main thoroughfare in center city Philadelphia, the installation Welcome Albert is a witty homage to Alfred Barnes and his art collection. The prescient installation showed five images of familiar big box stores within everyday frames, surrounded by hardware acquired at the same retailers. The hardware reflected the form language within the imagery while commenting on the banality of the American suburban landscape. This in contrast to the inherent beauty and sophistication of the display and works acquired abroad by Mr. Barnes.

WOB pers

Welcome, Albert

What you are looking at is everyday architecture.  These buildings are frequented often and therefore play a significant role in the way that we experience visual aesthetics.  Being inundated on nearly a daily basis with this visual illiteracy has dulled our senses.  In addition, the economic expediency of the buildings’ materials (Concrete Masonry Units, painted metal siding, prefabricated concrete panels) appeals to our collective pragmatism.  With corporate logos expressed as a banal billboard, the decorated shed becomes brand identity: a soulless corporate box in a sea of asphalt whose existence is temporary.

Yet, when these corporate institutions arrived in Philadelphia, they were received with remarkable fanfare.  New jobs and tax revenue for the city were celebrated as the suburban big box began to gain a foothold.  Lost to this competition were the department stores of yore–Gimbels, Strawbridges, Wanamaker’s et al.  The former was demolished to make way for a recession-proof parking lot.  Strawbridge’s building’s only hope at the moment is a casino.  The latter, now a Macy’s, is the last Department store standing–its venerable volumes, designed by Chicago’s Daniel Burnham, filled to half its potential.  Despite that, its Italianate design maintains a reverential air and still makes consumption a valuable experience.

It has not been the same reception for the Barnes Foundation.  With its priceless collection and world-class architecture (despite the legal internal form constraints), its future presence on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has been met with much derision.  When its doors do open, Philadelphia will be a tourist’s multi-night or repeat destination.  This will garner the city innumerable benefits from a revenue perspective while simultaneously raising its cultural cachet.  Hopefully, Albert Barnes’ collection being more accessible and housed in true architecture will help to revive our anesthetized senses.

The Barnes collection has a series of curious curatorial accessories.  Placed above and around the paintings, handcrafted metal fasteners adorn the walls.  Rescued from certain rust or melt-down, these iron artifacts relate to the works if one is visually literate.  Discovering the link between them and the paintings is like a game, where knowledge of visual aesthetics is the currency.  Arced shapes mimic voluptuous forms and spiked finials echo eye-lines and vectors.

The everyday architecture imagery shown here plays the same game, but this is done with the hardware of today.  Instead of hardware uniquely made by journeyed craftsmen, these products of mass production are designed anonymously.  They are an example of  an industrial vernacular that, when taken out of context, can be seen as attractive.  This hardware responds to the purposefully banal imagery as a nod to the forthcoming collection up the street: a collection that will have more resonance and cultural currency than all of these big boxes will ever achieve.

Furthermore, the frames that surround these images, like the industrial hardware, were all bought at the same big boxes.  They beckon to the wonderful woodworked frames of the Barnes collection, yet with an inherent cheapness: a flattened facsimile that propels a consumerist ideal founded on veneer, temporariness and artlessness.




Welcome, Albert: Test rendering

Graphic Designs

facade4 low 

Author c.b. reish asked RethinkTANK to review a fictional account of two architecture students who fall in love at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. We also designed the book jacket to depict the main characters in an embrace adjacent to a modernist Miesianesque building which in turn reflects a streetscape during the era of the New Order. The fonts are from the Bauhaus and the title is in swastika metallic red and the author is in metallic gold and placed as if mounted on the glass.

front coverCOVER3

Asked to create the yearbook cover for Beginnings Preschool, RethinkTANK queried each graduate what they would like to be when they grew up.  The answers were “written” on the entrance door, which served as a good metaphor to open the yearbook.  The rear cover depicts each profession in a Lego mini-figure and with plenty of room to sign the book. We should check back in a score to find out if their dreams have come true.


For the Industrial Design Department at The University of the Arts, RethinkTANK created the advertisement announcing the Charrette theme “Apocalypse Now?” for 2008.  Using the height of the banking crisis as inspiration, the NYSE was photographed and its American flag wrapper was turned upside down.  This signals distress; to put it mildly.  In another advertisement, a collection of disasters for that year was densely listed with the theme title, stolen from the movie, placed within in blood red.


This logo for the the film company Abiyoyo, attempts to put in a bit of levity and hope using the Yoyo as a point of entry for the resultant form shown.  This logo uses a modified Bondi that creates a geometric power. Its serifs create a dignified stance while the geometry offers a current aesthetic.  A positive and an inverse logo are shown.

GD-bookr logos

X marks the spot for Bookr, an event ticketing service, where one goes to purchase their tickets. The logo uses the center O in the company name as a literal hinge point. This implies that when one goes to an event, they are never go alone. You always bring a friend. Additionally, this hinge aspect enables a simple web based animation. In that vein, the logo intuitively multiplies as tickets are purchased, tripling, quadrupling et al to visually represent the number purchased.  The logo is a self-modified Rockwell font, which was developed in the 1930’s and echoes a Playbill font in its bold serifs. Therefore, it reads subliminally “event” while maintaining an up-to-date feel.  Furthermore, the logo can take on several color patterns beyond what is shown here.


Prime Electric, a Canadian based service sought a new logo.  The logo was inspired by a typical scene found in St. Catharines: A brown thrasher on a power line.  The Thrasher is native to the area and its weight bends the wire into a slight smile.


A new logo for a Fire Alarm and Security company plays off the positive-negative. The square says reliability while the red reads “fire.


A logo and an advertisement in one.


An advertisement for a lecture about Eastern Canadian architecture and design.

sign lecture

An advertisement for a lecture about Scandinavian architecture and design.