Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Design’

Sexing up the classics

August 17, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design No Comments →


Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein. . .great books that generations of students have been required to read for their edification. They’re supposed to be “good for us”, like exercise or a trip to the dentist. Nothing kills the pleasure of reading a good book faster than treating it like homework.


What if the novels of Shelley, Bronte, Austen and company were regarded not as prerequisites for intellectual improvement, but as intended by their authors—as entertainment? What if the classics could be fun?

Pulp the Classics is a brilliant idea: taking some of the most famous works of literature and packaging them as 1950s pulp paperbacks with sensational covers, witty taglines, boldly-colored edges and fake scuff marks.


There’s a Ryan Gosling-like Dorian Gray peering out of his portrait saying, “Hey Girl…I’d sell my soul for you!” Marilyn Monroe as Tess of the D’Urbervilles—”She’s…No Angel.” A louche Mr. Darcy, the Colin Firth version, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and the tagline, “Lock up your daughters…Darcy’s in town!”

The only cover we’re not crazy about is Wuthering Heights with Humphrey Bogart as Heathcliff. We love Bogey, but he’s not a Heathcliff.


The series is so effective, we bought copies for the design and ended up reading Tess again. We’re looking for the edition of Dubliners whose cover is based on Reservoir Dogs.

Pulp the Classics, available at National Bookstores, Php249 apiece.

Avatar makes Cebu the earring capital of the Philippines

June 23, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Design, Places No Comments →

avatar outlet1

Our first stop in Cebu was the Avatar store at the Bellavista Hotel.

avatar outlet2

Avatar is a Cebu-based fashion accessories and jewelry brand that pre-dates the James Cameron movie (although the tall blue aliens would like it). Its products are exported all over the world, and it’s won many awards for design.

avatar outlet3

“Avatar” means “the incarnation of an idea” and if the idea is “Death to the boring,” we consider it a success.


They have a pop-up store in Greenbelt, but the Bellavista Hotel outlet has the best prices. You can get earrings for as low as Php100. There are bracelets, necklaces, etc, but we didn’t look at them because we were on our way to lunch.

Garage of Dreams

June 22, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Childhood, Design No Comments →


In a repurposed garage in a city not very far away (Cebu), Johanna Velasco Deutsch, Mark Deutsch and their team make stuff.


Such as their rendition of a certain seat of power. Instead of swords melted by dragonfire and surfaces so sharp they caused the derrieres of kings to bleed, they fashioned a comfy chair from old action figures, toy cars, Lego bricks, Viewmasters, and plastic animals.


They do animation, design, illustration, painting, sculpture, toys and photography. Coming up: an alphabet book in Bisaya.


Under the glass are 364 pictures they took, one a day, for a year.


They pay tribute to our feline overlords and encourage people to drink better coffee. Their work is delightful without being self-consciously cute.

Visit them at Happy You can also check out their work for the Four Seasons Marrakesh and Raffles Seychelles.

Color forecasts for 2015

January 30, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Design No Comments →

naturist palette

Naturist: Greens, warm wood tones, reds. So you can see the forest beyond the concrete. (Do you ever look through swatches or crayon boxes just to read the names of the shades? We do.)

avant-garde palette

Avant-Garde: Bold reds, blues, yellows, greens. For your inner superhero.

kinetic palette1
kinetic palette2

Kinetic: Cool greys and blues, intense tangerine. You move fast.

perfectionist palette

Perfectionist: Subdued colors. Your house is your retreat.

Boysen introduced its color themes for the year last week at SMX. Color Trend 2015 was created in collaboration with the Nova Paint Club and a global color research company. Look here.

Give Ursula K. Le Guin the Nobel Prize

January 01, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Design No Comments →

Give science-fiction the respect it has long deserved and been flagrantly denied.

And give her books better covers.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Speech in Acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long — my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for fifty years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book 6 or 7 times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this — letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable — but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.

Thank you.

Copyright © 2014 Ursula K. Le Guin

The Theory of Everything: Lovingly Yours, Stephen Hawking

December 11, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Design, Movies, Places, Science No Comments →




The Spiral Staircases of Budapest

These images would’ve come in handy in James Marsh’s melodramatic Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything. Read our review at