Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Hoot; This is it.

So, Comm studio has come to a close and i remained in one piece. It took many an argument with Agnes, my wonderful instructor whom kept telling me to CROP CROP and CROP again. So after trying with all my might to make adorable little idiot owl circles with "Z's" over their head, I succumbed to Agnes' instructions and to be honest, i think it worked quite well. The poster you see above is basically a super crop of a early iteration involving a tiny owl on a snow laden branch. People seemed to have liked it in the class, and it was chosen as an example for successful use of scale, which was affirming.

This poster here was a result of struggling non-stop with trying to create an image related to the Griffith Observatory. I fooled around with emulating structural elements of the building itself, and sticking almost exclusively to the green and white pallet of the GO but all i seemed to come up with is the most boring shit ever. So fast forward to the weekend before, 3am, post thanksgiving...I was here at the OTIS labs trying to work it out and then out of no where i remember the album cover for The Academy is.. "Almost Here" album and thought that it would be a smooth move for this poster. I chose a color pallet related to a pretty evening and then we get this poster here. I personally prefer this one, although the painted stars are silly.

Well, that is that!

I do

The above fellow is my first attempt at creating a "Type Sample Poster", a poster whose main purpose is to showcase a typeface in an interesting way, hopefully successfully taking advantage of the typeface's strengths.

I really enjoyed this project, almost to the point of neglecting other assignments by revising this poster nearly 20 times. I put in at least 20 hours overall into getting this poster to where it's at, which saying out loud on the internet makes it seem all the more ridiculous, but oh well, I enjoy Type more than i ever would have dreamed and this is hopefully a fitting tribute to one the most widely used fonts in the world.

Oh and by the way, I truly do love helvetica....the choice in headline is simply to get you to hopefully take a closer peek.

This poster is dedicated to Deathspell Omega...whom i am currently listening to for the millionth time today.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Cit-a-del....Handled.

Over this past semester at the famed Los Angeles City College, of which i was a student up until 2 weeks ago, i asked to try my hand at designing the school's massively overlooked and uncared about Anthology of Arts "The Citadel". One of the main catalysts for this was actually seeing the complete visual coat-hanger abortion that was last year's cover.

Apparently the painting that was the cover, which i do not have immediately available on the interwebs to show you, was painted by a mentally handicapped individual, which is fine...but as far as i knew, the layout and typesetting was done by a human in normal health. It was a complete bummer constructed out of MS word default "Papyrus" type and an eyesore of a diagonal "2007" for no reason.

oh and it was mostly "TEAL".....teal....like you know, the color of 1994.

So i took a chance at creating a few options and the first one of my attempts was this:

This, is actually one of about 6 concepts built around this nice little piece of bark i found. The teacher in charge of the Citadel didn't like the idea of using a photograph, and wanted something a little bit more provocative. He did go on to say that he liked the professional finish, although i think, as i look back, that the 2008 in the corner makes no sense. Moving on.

The next one, I am too embarrassed to show, but let's just say it was a product of obsessing over ripping off the 90's computer type look of Radiohead's "In rainbows" and using primary colors. GROSS.

So now we get to the last tier of designs focused around an ink drawing i did called "Three Bleeding Giants".

Here are a few:

One of these were chosen. It was not the one I wanted.

The one i really liked was the last design, with the large "C". I really how the commanding and important it looks. The whole design reflects what i like most in design, a very precise and pristine minimalism. It is crisp but not lazy, and it creates an air of importance...I feel. As i look at it more though, and step in the other people's shoes i can see that some might find it mundane and uninteresting, which i think would not be successful in it's aim to create an interest among the students at LACC. I do feel that at OTIS, it would be recieved a little differently, but we will see when i start next year. I did feel that this overall look and layout could easily be continued throughout the years as a definitive design. It could be altered by simply changing the color scheme and background image, but maintain the look throughout the upcoming editions....but whatever...a little ambitious maybe?

The image chosen was the first one. This luckily was my second favorite cover. It is similar in style to the "C" one but a little less severe in it's minimal structure as it has less negative space, focusing more on the drawing itself and leaving the title clear and interesting enough bleeding into the black bar at the bottom.

So that will be printed soon, on thick textured matte paper stock for "The Citadel/08" cover within the year and i can't wait to see it. It would have been on glossy thin paper by default...but my god would that look cheap and shit, so i requested the better paper from the "2005" edition of this book.

Well, thats that! I think soon I am going to Post a collection of all of the Hydra Head Advertisements I have been drawing for lately! I just finished the most recent one of Rachel, our new Alpha Female/Intern/Instigator. Be sure to spot all of the past ads in issues of Decibel, Wire, Vice, and Rock Sound (UK). Cool.tanks.


Recent Immersions:

Listen: Opeth "Watershed(2xLp)" bonus track "Derelict Herds" is astounding, Camel "Mirage", Fleet Foxes "S/T", Kayo Dot-"Blue Lambency Downward"; Read: Joan Didion "Play It As It Lays"; Watch: Masculine Feminin, Opeth "Lamentations";Other: Health Issues, Bed Sleeping, Big Move, Work Decline, Limited Finances, Party.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sins of Sunsilk Pt. 1: Nope and Nope Redux

I have been meaning to write this for weeks, even if it be for my own good. I wrote in my notebook notes about what i hated about this ad and that stupid "X" on the Jaguar '08 ads that i will talk about later, but first let's talk about the consistent bad visual situation over at Sunsilk. We will start in the beginning with a little conversation with some people behind the ever interesting world of package design.

I actually had the pleasure to meet and talk with some of the lovely ladies that are in charge of the design team over at Nexxus (TRESemme, VO5, among others) at my restaurant. We talked about the endurance of TRESemme's classic top-shelf look and the recent redesign for VO5. They asked me what products i use, which at least in the shampoo department, is Sunsilk. They all began to laugh. They told me that although they are Nexxus' main competitor, their design is terrible. Now this was at the time that Sunsilk used these awful little duds:

Now, this silly looking little collection is actually fine in that it gets the prodcut across. The text, as terrible as it looks (Is that "K" gonna escape....?), is concise and to the point about what it does. Although "hydra TLC(tender loving care), is a bit to goofball for me. The only real problem is the unwieldy, and again I emphasize SILLY, picture of a very content Caucasian woman. In real life the image is literally a 4-color print and looks like utter dog garbage.

So all of that said, after my little run in with the lovely ladies, I ended needing some smoothing cream because i had run out. I went to the local Vons and made my way to the hair section. I was then greeted by the little line of bottles:

So I look at this little row, and try to make a decision. I had a hard time making out the assorted differences as there is literally 3 different ideas being presented in the central line of sight. You have the Brand name, the cute little product description, the exclamation point logo and the awful little "hairapy" tag line climbing up the side buried behind the Logo type.

Now, understand that this image is just that, an image. It is nothing like the real bottle with it's reflective glossy finish and different inks. The white "hairapy", due to its placement and color is very difficult to make out in a lighted area, which is again hindered by the cluster of text in that tiny space. It has no relation to any of the text elements and the message is unnecessary, as it is basically a tag line. So....why the hell is it here. I honestly thought these were ALL different kinds of hairsprays, because at first glance that is the white text seems to convey. All in all one should not have to double check and re-check a package to understand what the hell is going on.

What needs to happen here is:

A. Get rid of the vertical "White" text...NOW!
B. Use the ENTIRE space...let the eye scan from top to bottom in one stroke and know exactly what is going on here.
C. Don't fix a problem by making another problem (Stupid face image replaced with cluttered text...etc.)

Now, just when you think they will come back with something at least an iota better, the "lifecan'twait" ad campaign surfaces on TV, My semi-daily trek to work (in 2 forms!), and magazines. It's far more criminal than either of the aforementioned travesties and simply an eyesore in a city where billboards are as common as cigarette butts.

I'll save that for next time though.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Split Completmentary Cat Powered Jukebox

I have always been quite fond of Chan Marshall's music. Her recent "image" makeover starting at about that time that one sexy photo shoot for Magnet (I think that's what it was) surfaced is a debated issue....at least theoretically. The once shy "cry on stage" antics have been replaced with photo ops with Chanel designers, so only time will tell if everybody hates her soon. That all aside though, I really liked this cover design for Cat Power's Jukebox. In terms of complexity, there is no calculus here, just some tasteful split complementary 1,2,3 images, pencil thin type, and a slightly metallic silver background that fits perfectly into her secret handshake with haute couture. The album itself is a pleasant collection of covers and a pair of originals that don't command much. Her voice is one of my favorite in this style of music, modern but still clinging to the ragged timbres of Dylan and Joni Mitchell. To bad the aforementioned folk icon's recent record covers, Modern Times and Shine! (respectively), looked like bad ideas left out on a rainy day and then some.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Let There Be Toothpaste....

In 2007, a whole new field of interest hit me in the face like anything worth paying attention to should. I found myself obsessing over something I would never have dreamed of, one faithful day in a Los Angeles Target. The object of the said infatuation was, naturally, Rembrant Toothpaste.

There was something terribly exciting to me about a predominately classic white rectangle accentuated with vibrant stations of color and a commanding centered Logo type. There I was in the toothpaste aisle spending far more time than any other in history secretly fascinated with a box of, and i emphasize, Toothpaste. It was a silent and clandestine appreciation, as I darted back and forth between the army of red/blue foil encrusted packages promising 24 hour this and that, whiteness, mint, lemon, grape and all sorts of dental improvements that a simple paste could never hope to achieve. There it sat like a well dressed gentlemen, polite and inviting, as a room full of loudmouths promised with shouts of everything you could ever think of applying to your little mouth.

It took me up until last week, to finally purchase a box of that toothpaste (as it's not cheap), but it holds its own against the best and even tastes better than any toothpaste i have had yet. That aside though, Rembrandt Toothpaste set something off in me I am ever so grateful. That gift is the appreciation for and desire to create things like this to take something like an indifference for toothpaste and literally transform it into a conscience awareness and heightened interest in a product or concept.

The design team behind this fantastic redesign opened my eyes to the importance of package design, advertising, and elements related. They have lit a fire and near obsession with things i never gave a second thought too. This isn't the first time, to be entirely honest, but we will talk about those later, for now let's just talk about toothpaste, ok.

Oh and look at the old design:

What do you think?

-Paul C.