Jumat, 27 April 2012

Cooking Up a Logo.

Old Logo: Unprofessional, cheap and looks like clip-art

I enjoy teaming up with other agencies and working together to create original, fun and effective solutions for small and large business owners.

When Dave Miller was approached by Gourmet Learning to re-design and develop a new web site for their company he recognized they needed a new identity, not just a new web site. Their old logo was at best unprofessional and at worst detracted from the quality curriculum they created and sold.

New Logo: Professional, clean and approachable.

Dave contacted me to handle the new identity design. Along with a new logo design the company had recently changed to a new name as well so the timing was good to introduce a new identity to go with it.

B&W Incarnation.

As we progress down the digital highway old methods for identity design are falling to the wayside. Technology has changed to the point where having a B&W version of a given logo isn't always needed. We are designing for an "RGB World" as my friend Bill Gardner likes to call it.

This client does enough one color so a B&W version was needed.

Business card piping hot off the press.

When I design identity pieces such as business cards I rarely stick to a simple rectangle. I always try to incorporate a unique die-cut that if possible carries over a conceptual twist to it. In this case I wanted the card itself to mimic a loaf of bread, hence playing off the whole chef motif.

Dave is currently fleshing out the new site which I've also assisted with in terms of the look and feel and that'll be launched once it's finished.

If you're looking to create a recipe for success on your next project and need someone to assist in your creative kitchen and cook up some tasty design ideas, then I am your chef.

Senin, 23 April 2012

Arriving in May!

'Crumble. Crackle. Burn'

I just received my advanced copy of my first ever published book called 'Crumble. Crackle. Burn - 120 Stunning Textures for Design and Illustration'. If you'd like more information regarding this book coming out in May you can read my previous post about it here.

If you're attending the HOW Design Conference I'll be doing a book signing on Tuesday night June 12th at 5:30pm. If you buy a copy at the Conference you'll get a FREE set of my Keyboard-Characters™ as well and of course my autograph.

'Spread Illustration by Vonster'

Each spread showcases the raw texture on the left, information regarding it's source and location on the DVD. The right side of the spread shows an example usage of that texture. Below is several sample spreads I took pictures of so you can see how the layout of the interior looks.

'Spread Illustration by Linzie Hunter'

'Spread Illustration by Chris Parks'

'Spread Illustration by Alina Hiu-Fan Chau'

'DVD is inset into the back cover for easy storage and access.'

I am excited how it came out and I think other designers and illustrators will really enjoy using the textures in their own artwork.

Pre-Order on Amazon.com

Jumat, 20 April 2012

Talking v.1.0

No cable, no presentation, just talking.

Last week I flew out to speak at a local design group. I had put together an extensive presentation, fine tuned my images, practiced running through it multiple times to get my timing down and polished several lame jokes. In other words I was loaded for bear.

Problem is I forgot to bring my mini-dv cable and the AV specialists were all PC acolytes so nothing they had would allow me to hook up my laptop to the video projector. I was dead in the water. No images, no clever dissolves or visual cues to captivate the audience while I droned on.

Panic slowly started to sink in as I thought to myself

"I am an artist with out art to show."

I decided to wing it. Slowly leaning forward towards the podiums mic I said

"Well I unfortunately don't have any visuals to show you, but if you'd like I'd be happy to do a Q&A with you."

Thankfully I had brought several freebies to give away and holding them up I continued.

"The best questions get prizes."

The facade of confidence was intact, but inside my stomach churned as I waited for the inevitable train wreck to occur.

Someone raised their hand and before I knew it the next thirty minutes flew by and it was done. Technology took a back seat and mere talking carried the day and to my surprise people actually enjoyed it.

I am a huge geek and love technology, but this situation reminded me once again that person to person conversation will always trump it. Being able to talk to another person and share stories, share struggles, share success, share failures together is what life is all about.

And the best thing about talking is you'll never have to upgrade your mouth. Something software companies could learn from.

Promotional Graphics

Promotional graphic: Honda Fit

In Oregon we are surrounded by tribal casinos. The top tourist attraction in our state in fact is an Indian casino. Every reservation it seems has their own little Vegas sprouting up and each of them compete to get more traffic to their facility by using promotions such as "Wacky Wednesdays" where they give away a FREE car each and every Wednesday.

Alternate design option not used.

The common denominator in each of these promotions is a car. The style on the latest promotional graphic allowed me to do a photo illustration but as shown below I've illustrated a few cars along the way too.

I call these types of projects "Joe Consumer Jobs." I know they may not be too glamorous but it's still fun working on them.

Old promotional graphic: Honda Hybrid

My favorite part of doing the hybrid car was illustrating the head lights. Half way through I wasn't sure it was going to look right but in the end it all came together.

Old promotional graphic: Ford Mustang

Not sure what brand of car the next promotional graphic will require, but I'll put the creative pedal to the metal and floor it!

Sabtu, 14 April 2012

Imperial Rip-Off!

Imperial Toy, LLC ripped off my "Tribal Tattoo Face" artwork.

UPDATE: 8/8/08

Weasels Defeated! After four months Imperial Toys, LLC has paid for using my art illegally.

UPDATE: 4/23/08

Times up! Received a response from Imperial weasels and true to character they are acting like weasels. I also found out that these weasels are reading my blog and don't like being called weasels apparently? They even insisted I remove this information immediately accusing me of slander?. Apparently this breed of weasel has a dominant irony gene?

UPDATE: 4/23/08

Well the Imperial weasels are still at it. They've told me since last week that the company president and their legal team are reviewing this matter. Reviewing what? My 13 year old daughter understands you can't steal and expect not to get in trouble for it, but these weasels seem to think if they stall I'll just forget about it and go away? Nice try chief, not going to happen.

They promised to contact me by today to resolve this and so far I haven't heard a peep. No response to an email asking for resolution either.

Well they have about 35 minutes and then off it goes to my lawyer and they'll quickly realize that it's going to cost them a whole lot more then my reasonable invoice to cover the usage of my art in their product line.

UPDATE: 4/22/08

Sent off an email again to Imperial Weasels stating if I didn't hear from them today I'd be turning this matter over to my copyright attorney. I then followed that email up with a phone call and the following conversation took place with one of their legal people.

Imperial weasel says "We were not even aware of your artwork."

I try not to laugh and respond "Someone on your end was aware of it because it appeared in your product line."

They said I'd hear from their president by today. Not holding my breath.

Imperial Weasels

It's been a while since someone tried to use my artwork without paying for it. Most of the time it's been individuals caught doing it but a few times it's been corporations who got their hands caught in the proverbial cookie jar and I've had to legally go after them.

It's happened so many times now that I know the copyright laws pretty well and have a good relationship with a copyright lawyer as well who can back me up if a company gets cranky and doesn't respond to reasonable requests when I catch them.

So hopefully Imperial Toy, LLC won't be weasels and will deal with me honestly?

My original artwork that was lifted and used in Imperials product line.

I guess what bugs me almost more than a company thinking they can use my art for free is the fact they simply don't hire me to create it for them in the first place? In all honesty it would be far cheaper to just hire me to create some original art for their line instead of them borrowing my art illegally and risk getting caught?

I suppose this is the down side of showcasing art online and if it wasn't for the watchful eyes of fellow design and illustration friends I'd never know about most of the infringements. Thankfully they take the time to notify me and alert me of the artistic violation and then I get to spend a day dealing with it instead of working which is what happened today.

The offender: Imperial Toy, LLC.

So we'll see how Imperial Toy, LLC responds to my letter to their lawyer and the usage invoice I included. I'll post what happens in a follow up once I know more.

Jumat, 13 April 2012

Recently Spotted

"Beat Street" and "Beat Street Inline" font.

The font "Beat Street" shown above I designed about 12 years ago. Wow, has it really been that long? Yikes. It's been a while since I designed a font. When I switched from OS9 to OSX Fontographer stopped working so I just kind of put everything on hold in terms of designing fonts. (That has changed and I may create a new one soon) That said, I have created "7" fonts total. Five of those I created while working at another design firm so my name is never associated with them.

Over the years I've seen several of my fonts in use in a variety of ways. I've seen them on toy packaging, candy bar wrappers, advertisements, logos etc. I stopped counting years ago but in the past three weeks I spotted a couple usages that got my attention.

"Super Paper Mario" using my "Beat Street" font.

I was in Blockbuster Video the other week and spotted this usage of "Beat Street" on the packaging for "Super Paper Mario." I tend to cringe at moments like these because rarely do I see it used well. They don't go in and modify how the letters interact with each other and make it look nice. No, they just type it out and go with it. In any regard it was a nice Saturday morning surprise and being able to show that my font was on a Wii game scored me a few cool points with my kids. ;-)

"Novel Romance" movie on DVD starring the infamous Traci Lords.

Then there are times like this past weekend where I was browsing within my NETFLIX account and it asked me to rate a recent movie called "Bride and Prejudice." After I did so it then recommended two other movies and one of those were "Novel Romance." I immediately looked at the thumbnail graphic on screen and said out loud "Oh no." Sure enough who ever designed the cover for this DVD decided "Beat Street" was a good fit even though they decided to squash it.

I suppose I can now add "Soft Porn" to the fonts usage list?

If any of you happen to spot this font being used and can capture it via a picture or nab an image online then please do and send it my way I'd enjoy seeing it. Thanks.

BTW: You can test drive and purchase the "Beat Street" font here.

Senin, 09 April 2012

Linear Line Artwork

'Smiling Face Linear.'

Creating linear line illustration is as close to getting paid to doodle as it gets for me. The amount of time it takes to go from my revised sketch to final is about as short as it gets in regards to illustration. But that said this style is deceptively simple. Sure it's one continuous line (minus secondary elements like movement lines and such) but you have to balance the negative and positive areas well otherwise it can become a scrambled mess of overlapping lines. The other key is to not make the stroke too thick or too thin.

'The Whole Set.'

The ad agency White Rhino (Cool name) hired me to create the set of linear line illustrations shown above. The usage would be for TV spots for a regional bank called 'RiverBank' and on print collateral. The illustrations had to work moving from left to right when animated. The 'Dental Chair' illustration was never used because their client didn't want that theme related to their banking experience. ;-) Included in the project was the need for type matching the same style they could use on print collateral as well.

'Capture from TV Spot 1'

The illustrations were animated for two TV spots they produced. You can watch both spots using the following links.

- Watch TV Spot 1
- Watch TV Spot 2

Now if only Ragu™ would hire me to create linear illustrations out of spaghetti! Dat's a-spicy project!

Animal Metaphors & Rabbit Trails

Multi-Tasking Octopus. Click to view larger image.

Even though I don't do a lot of editorial illustration I do enjoy the challenge when it presents itself. These illustrations were for Fortune Small Business magazine. The challenge with editorial is gleaning a creative and clever idea to illustrate after reading the article which sometimes can be very dry and boring. Thankfully in this case it was actually a very interesting topic.

My original pencil sketches included the pig concept below and because they liked that one so much they then asked me to create two other animal based metaphors so that each of the three illustrations would work more as a set. The octopus shown above was chosen to represent a company that did everything themselves rather then outsourcing and because of that their quality control was better and their production was far more efficient.

Rabbit Trail 1: When I was coloring this art I originally had green instead of purple. My oldest daughter came into my studio while I was working on it and said "Dad the octopus should be purple." I kind of shrugged her off and then looked up some information on octopuses and discovered they change color so I decided to just keep it green.

The next day after sending off the comp the art director asks "Can you change the octopus to purple?" DOH! Suffice it to say my daughter enjoyed hearing that bit of news. I reminded her she has my genes so that obviously was responsible for her opinion. LOL

Croc Loving Pig. Click to view larger image.

The next part of the article was about companies finding a unique niche for business by piggybacking on trends. The specific trend discussed was Crocs. Obviously the terminology in the article pinpointed the direction I should take.

Rabbit Trail 2: The art director asked me to add some type into two of the spots so the art above shows that as well. The type is part of an on going hand lettering project I've been working on for three years now. Eventually I'll produce a font called "Nincompoop" based on these letter forms.

Flying in Formation. Click to view larger image.

The gist of the last article needing an illustration was about a company who brought order out of chaos in the high tech parts market and profited greatly from their business solution. Prior to the animal metaphors I had a guy putting a puzzle together and on that puzzle was a dollar sign. But since they wanted animal metaphors that wouldn't work now. Some of the new concepts I proposed were "Getting your ducks in a row, with each duck carrying a part" and "A bird who takes random parts and builds an ordered nest from them." Neither of these ideas floated the art directors boat.

Instead the art director requested butterflies that form a dollar sign.

((( insert cricket sound )))

Yeah, I am scratching my head still on that one myself. Don't get me wrong I like the way it came out and think it looks cool, I am just not in sync with the underline concept. It's a bit detached where as the other two make sense right away. Hey 2 for 3 is great in baseball, so I can live with that creative batting average.

Rabbit Trail 3: BTW, these illustrations show how you can use the textures found in my texture book.

If any of you do figure out the butterfly idea could you please email me? ;-)

Minggu, 08 April 2012

Sneak Peek - Old World Textures

Marble Crust Source Photo.

Yes, it's another "Sneak Peek" but there is also a FREE download in it for you too so stop whining.

As many of you know I traveled to Israel and Jordan a month ago and it was a blast. The history, culture, people and food was an incredible experience I'll never forget. While I was there I quickly spotted a wealth of awesome textures every where I visited and when it was all said and done I had taken over 120 pictures of distressed walls, stone roads, ruins etc.

Marble Crust Bitmap Tiff File.

I've been slowly building a new set called "Old World Textures" and will be offering it as a download product soon.

Each texture in the set will contain the following files:
- 10x15 Grayscale PSD File, 315 dpi
- 10x15 Bitmap Tiff File, 315 dpi
- 9x13 Source Photo, 300 dpi, RGB Jpeg (By Popular Demand)

Test drive "Marble Crust" by downloading it here. Enjoy!

Sabtu, 07 April 2012

The Bat is Back...Again.

'Ruben Salavert, another fan of my 'Tribal Tattoo' artwork.'

Almost a year ago today I was contacted by an ad agency guy from Florida who had seen some of my 'Tribal Tattoo' artwork on my web site and wanted me to illustrate a custom one for him to have done. You can read my original post about this here.

Well out of the blue I get an email with the picture shown above in it. Ruben finally got the tattoo done and was nice enough to share it with me.

'My Original Artwork.'

It still amazes me that some people will make a lifetime commitment to my art like this. There are now two guys walking around with my art permanently applied to their back. Ruben Salavert and Claude Montreal both far more daring them me.

I'll admit it's a little weird and yet flattering at the same time.

Fourth and Goal.

'Autograph Insert Card Design'

There isn't a lot of design jobs that would afford you the luxury of using full color, 5th color spot metallic, die-cuts, and foil stamping all in one project. But when you design for trading cards it's a common occurrence. They take advantage of all the print special effects offered today. So if you want to make a million bucks easy, just come up with a new unique printing method then license it to trading card companies because they are always looking for an advantage not offered by their competition. Easier said then done though.

The card shown above is called 'Draft Day Ink' each of the cards in this sub set will have a transparent autographed label applied to it. The image shown is a mock-up in that no one yet knows what team Adrian Peterson will be drafted too. The autograph is shown here as an example.

When designing trading cards the design has to be flexible enough that any team color, player name, photo will easily work with the layout.

'Jersey Insert Card Design'

Fitting all the various information, memorabilia and player photos into a space of 2.5"x3.5" can be challenging to say the least. When you have to do it for '3' or more players like the card shown above it makes the design far more complex then one showing a single player. But of course the multi-player cards are far more valuable for collectors if they happen to get it in the pack they buy.

Collecting cards has changed a lot since I was a kid. Today the industry of sports collectibles is almost as competitive as the sports they document but the clear leader in this field is the Upper Deck Company. I had the privilege of working their for three years in their baseball division and now enjoy assisting with the design of all the various brands they create for such as the NFL, MLB and the NHL along with other entertainment categories. The work is fun and knowing collectors will be securing my designs for years to come makes the work that much more satisfying to create.

Rabu, 04 April 2012

Sneak Peek - Drip.Dot.Swirl. 2

Nine of the eighty patterns that will be in the book.

You may be thinking "Didn't he just post about this?" and you'd be correct. I decided to share a few more patterns with you to wet your appetite, since many emailed me to see more. So this is it for 2008, I can't disclose any more so I decided to pick a few that showcased the range of style and thematic motifs I am creating.

Pattern names for each in order from left to right.
- Leaf Me Alone
- Thorn Blossom
- Alien Cells
- Bone Head
- Graphic Bloom
- Noodler
- Parlor
- Hawaiian Vibe
- Flame Broiled

All of course are tileable. Hope you like what you see so far.

Minggu, 01 April 2012

Podcast Interview

'My Ugly Mug'

As most of you know I produce my own podcast called 'The Illustrative Designer'. Well I've been so busy recently that I haven't had a chance to edit the interviews I've done with 'Bob Staake', 'Jeff Pollard' and a few others. So instead of letting more time go by with out releasing another podcast Erik Olson who runs the 'Iconic' podcast has allowed me to air an interview I did with him this past month.

I think you'll enjoy the information within the podcast and at the end is a little surprise for the listeners.

If you haven't had a chance to listen to my podcast be sure to subscribe to it via iTunes. If you don't have iTunes or don't use iTunes you can listen to it from the web site directly.