Monday, December 26, 2011

Say Something Poster 2011: No App for Life

Last year, I participated in the first Say Something Poster project. It was a fun project and is for a good cause, so I decided to join in again this year. While the organization and theme had changed, the mission hadn't: try to inspire the youth of today with a positive message. 

Today so many kids have their noses glued to some kind of screen. They are too busy to notice what is going on around them in the real world. I thought about how I could convey this concept in simple, yet effective way. I was talking with a mutual friend and he summed up my thoughts: "There's no app for life." Yep, that was it! Now how to illustrate "life". I did some research into some ancient icons that might have represented "life". I found a few, but it wasn't quite right. I then searched my photos for one that might give  a sense of living life.

I found a vacation shot from my trip to Miami a few years ago of the sun rising over the Atlantic. The rolling waves of the ocean, water, life with the sun rising in the background spoke to me. So I got to work assembling the image.

I wanted the familiar shape of the "app" icon to be present in my image. I wanted to show that part within the icon as "hyperreal" to reinforce the message it was not the real thing. I also combined it with a symbol for life I found in my research of ancient petroglyphs.

I'm not 100% happy with the result, I just can't put my finger on it, but it's still not quite right. But the deadline loomed so it went out. I don't think it's terrible, but somehow it seems like I could have made it simpler, more refined...anyhoo, you can vote for me through 12/31 if you do like the image and the message.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jane hancock Letterpress Calendar for 2012

My friends over at Jane hancock paper produce a fabulous Letterpress calendar each year. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the 2012 edition.

The call for entries was in May and I chose September as my month from the selections left since that was my Dad's birthday month. Little did I know that by the time I finished my calendar illustration, my dad would no longer be with us. He passed away about 2 weeks after I signed on to do the calendar.

When the reminder for artwork came out in July, I was still in a haze from his passing. But I couldn't not do it. Especially now. So I tried to force my sluggish mind and creative juices to start flowing in the midst of my grief. I did my research. I did sketches. I took breaks because I was just so tired.

And then it came to me...Forget-Me-Nots, the flowers the symbolize September, would be the perfect subject. Especially since they are typically blue, dad's favorite color. So I worked on some sketches. The trick was, I only had one color to work with, how would I convey the texture and beauty I wanted to express? I found my solution once I had started building my files in Illustrator: intricate linework inside each petal of the flowers. I used my good ol' Wacom tablet to create freeflowing lines that added just the extra texture and dimension I was looking for.

Here's what the finished Illustrator file looked like:

I spec'd a dark blue for the final color, and since I hadn't ever printed letterpress before, I was wondering how the the linework would appear on the final. My friend RJ at Jane hancock papers assured me that it would turn out very nice.

I know she is an excellent letterpress printer and she did a beautiful job not only on the fine lines of my piece, but also tying together all the beautiful and disparate styles of all the other great designers who contributed to this year's calendar.

The final printed calendar page:

This calendar truly is a work of art! You can purchase them at Jane hancock's Etsy store. Only 30 are available and when they are gone, they are gone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DLM Cheese Show Poster 2011

While I was in Chicago this summer for HOWDesign Live, I went to Willis Tower for the Skydeck tour. While in the gift shop, I shot a pic of the Chicago World’s Fair poster.

In July, while discussing the cheese show poster for my day job at Dorothy Lane Market with our Cheese Director, he mentioned the theme this year was “Cheeses of the World”. I immediately thought of this poster and how it could be a great reference for our poster.

A challenge in creating this poster is what image to use. How to convey cheeses from different countries? Cheeses that might be of different sizes and shapes would be difficult to manage. However, I worked with our Cheese Director and came up with the idea of picking out wedges of our most popular cheeses that would be at the show. I then shot a photo of them:

Then began the long process of tracing them in Illustrator keeping true to the Art Deco colors of the world's fair poster. It took a bit of work, but it did work out:

I then added it to my poster composition and it was a perfect match. I decided to shy away from a straight Art Deco typeface and chose Junction from The League of Moveable Type to give it a hint of the past, but with a modern touches:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry New Year

For my holiday card this year, I decided to do a new twist on my standard style. I Envisioned a sort of "Charlie Brown"/60s funky sort of look for this year's card. I originally designed it without any textures. But I just couldn't resist adding some to add to the watercolor effect. :)

Here's hoping your 2012 is indeed Merry and Bright!
(And if you haven't done your Holiday cards yet this year, you can purchase mine at my Zazzle store.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Todd Norman Pinot & Chardonnay Labels

I know it's been a long time since I posted an actual project. Hope you all have been enjoying the Instagram photos. I've been enjoying taking them! For me it is quite the mental challenge to sit down and write out my thoughts about design since I rely on my intuition to guide many of my processes. It also didn't help that this year has been extraordinarily challenging and busy. Mostly in good ways. :)

I'm not too far behind, but I will be catching up since I've had some cool projects this year.

One of my favorites was the Todd Norman Pinot & Chardonnay Labels for my day job at Dorothy Lane Market. This spring we found a great family winery, Talley Vineyards out in California that would private label our wines. We needed the label and in quite a rush to make the bottling schedule. I did some initial sketches and thoughts, but I couldn't get my rejected wine show poster concept from 2010 out of my head. So I gave it try and it worked out beautifully for the label design. I presented to the folks who needed to give their approval and everyone loved it! Recycling my old concept into a new usage worked very well in this instance and saved us a lot of time and effort and we got everything in on time. Plus the wine is pretty darned tasty too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011