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This begins my venture into adding more performance-based designs to the line. You already love the cozy, uber-soft Ezzere shirts that are great at wicking moisture…these sleek new shirts kick it up a notch. These babies are meant to REALLY do work…get you all the way to race day, toeing the line looking fierce and strong, motivate you to dig to the finish…then in true #SweatsintheCity style rock them the whole day after.
Ok, I’ll save you the spiel about how deeply I’ve fallen in love with typography and lettering, as that should be fairly obvious by now. Drew Melton‘s work essentially speaks for itself. His deeply expressive fonts and lettering demonstrate the importance of hand-drawing into the design process. Even in the sharpest, finalized versions of his work, you’ll a spontaneity that’s unmistakably fun and energetic.
Drew is an L.A.-based graphic designer and typographer who’s worked with clients like McCann, Nike, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Penguin Books. He’s had quite the interesting journey to success in the lettering realm, some of which is marked by serious self-reflection and the ability to remain humble.
One of the things that hurled him into the design spotlight was his Phraseology project, started with a few other designers and developers in 2011. Very similar to Erik Marinovich’sFriends of Type blog, Phraseology offers the public a chance to submit any word or phrase to be designed by members of the team. Soon enough, Drew was being commissioned for some big-time typography work by notable clients.
Unfortunately, with that exciting attention also came some consequences. As much as I admire Drew’s hand at lettering, I might be even more enamored with his grace and honesty about his past mistakes.
In January 2013, Drew bravely posted a public apology on his blog to several typographic designers, including Jessica Hische, Jon Contino, Dana Tanamachi, and Darren Booth, for drawing inspiration from their styles in ways that were not entirely “okay.” He spoke openly about his guilt and sadness at realizing that his creative process had been built too closely upon the examples of his heroes, and that his heroes were now upset with him.
The topic of creative originality is probably one of the most sensitive. It’s something that is constantly under debate and argued by strong opinions. I’m a strong believer that nothing is purely unique, especially in this day and age. It’s the nature of craft and evolution to build upon an existing idea. But in an age when visual information is so widely accessible, when an illustrator or designer can essentially educate themselves by opening their web browser–it’s up to the creative to draw the line between inspiration and imitation.
It’s a testament to Drew’s work ethic and passion for the art of typography that he was still able to gain success after this admission. Even while he struggled to define his style in the beginnings of his career, it’s clear that he’s succeeded.
Drew is now focusing on font development in addition to personal design and typography. Some of my favorite fonts of his are Lastra, Handsome, and Magnifique.
It’s been a busy few weeks around here. I’m still trying to figure out where the summer part of summer is!
It’s all been fantastic things.
I taught a Photoshop and Graphic Design to kids in a Summer Session up at my school, and it was so much fun. Exhausting and crazy-making, but it was awesome to spend a couple weeks with kids who were creative, fearless, and super engaged.
That graphic at the top?
A fifth grader’s. She’d opened Photoshop for the first time in her life about twenty minutes earlier. We studied Brian Won’s work (and his process post here!) for texture and shape, and I made them this guy as an example. He’s kinda cute, right?If you don’t know who these guys are, you’ve got to check out a student film (I think?) of Jon Klassen’s, An Eye for an Annai. The kid who made this said it if it had been a book it would be her very favorite of all time.
(My students dropping hyperbole on the glory of stories?! Are you shocked?!)
And for those story-crazed students and their story-crazed librarian, a huge expansion is in the works. I’ve always had the greatest job in the school, but now I’m going to have the most gorgeous spot in which to do it. Lucky.And ALA!
A few weeks ago, one of the highlights of my weekend was meeting my editor. Cause this book I wrote is happening, and I’m still pinching myself to make sure this is real life. Taylor is the most kismet-y match for this book, and I can’t wait to bring this thing into the world with her. SUPER SQUEAL. I know.
And then somewhere along the way this blog picked up over 10,000 followers. Ten thousand! That’s a huge, humbling number, and I’m so so grateful for each of you.
So I looked up my top ten posts, and I’d like to give away these ten books. You made them popular, so perhaps you’d like one of your own?!
Mary Kate McDevitt is one of the most successful hand-letterers and illustrators working today. A graduate of Tyler School of Art, Mary went on to work at a design studio in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After 2 years, she moved out west to pursue a freelance illustration and design career in Portland, Oregon before ultimately settling in Brooklyn, New York, which is where she presently resides. While she previously imagined that she would work as an illustrator, dabbling in some lettering on the side–but it turned out to be quite the opposite. Her ever-growing client list includes Chronicle Books, CMYK Magazine, Fast Company, and the United States Postal Service.
She is specifically inspired by vintage type and techniques, including the ones of her own family. As a teenager, she discovered a plethora of handwritten letters that her mother and aunt wrote to her grandmother during college. She used this inspiration for her Your Handwritten Letters project, a daily hand-lettering exercise. Mary would hand-draw a letter of the alphabet and mail the original to a unique participant each day.
"Sure, it's simple, writing for kids...just as simple as bringing them up." - Ursula K. LeGuin
We recently had a chat with children's book illustrator and instructor Joy Chu about her taste in children's literature and for some advice on entering the field. Joy is teaching our first online children's book illustration course in Winter 2013 (the class opens for enrollment in October)!
* NOTE: The above is from an interview that was featured in UCSD Extension's Blog last fall, just before I began teaching the on-line version of my class, "Illustrating Books for Children"/Winter 2013 Quarter. — JC
Art of the Title, an addicting resource with dozens of high-def clips, recently posted their Title Design Finalists for the SXSW 2013 Film Awards. Of the animated title sequences, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez and ParaNorman are standouts: the first for its use of vintage woodblock typeface and spaghetti western aesthetic, and the latter for its 1950s horror-inspired design. Both sequences are richly nuanced, and imply an understanding of the history of typography and graphic poster design. This applied visual knowledge is the direct result of the collaboration between animators and designers.
Title sequence design has evolved since the days of Saul Bass, Maurice Binder and Pablo Ferro, some of the most recognized godfathers of the artform. More and more animators and graphic designers are building entire studio practices devoted to title sequence design. The first (or last) fifteen minutes of any film is increasingly crucial to the overall art direction, and often seen as an opportunity for experimentation.
I’ve spoken with several young animators who still treat title sequences as an after thought. Or, even worse, they just slap on the default fonts provided by Flash or After Effects. I’ve never understood this attitude. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t spend several months working on a cake recipe, bake it to perfection, just to cover it in store-bought icing. But for animation students just starting out, executing a thoughtful title sequence in addition to animating a film can be overwhelming. Fortunately, help is usually nearby in the graphic design department, where students will leap at the chance to assist in creating a title sequence.
One of the (many) ironies of higher education is that colleges attract hordes of bright, eager students, then isolate them into separate buildings, sometimes several city blocks or miles from each another. When I was a design student at the University of Texas, the animation students didn’t even realize my department existed—and vice versa. Unfortunately, animation and graphic design departments are rarely adjacent, and it’s up to students—not their teachers—to make these connections.
So if you’re an animation student, do yourself a favor: open up your university map, locate the graphic design school, then drop by and make introductions. Not every animated film, short or feature-length, needs a complex, typeset title sequence with bells and whistles. But building relationships with graphic designers, especially now that motion graphics is a required area of study in many design schools, could yield infinite possibilities with mutual benefits.
So it's been a HELL of a long time since I last posted anything and there have been quite a few changes in my life. Most notably I am back in school taking a three year Graphic Design program. I'll post more later but here are my two latest works - DVD redesigns for Blade Runner and Casablanca. The assignment was to create an entirely new cover for a randomly assigned film in a style of our choosing. I got ambitious and decided to make two! For Blade Runner I went with a 1950's pulp novel look, and for Casablanca I went with an early 1960's pop art look. Hope ya digs! Comments and constructive criticisms welcome.
After attending the “Because” event at the Wolff Olins office on July 4th, I was once again reminded of the big disconnect that lies between designers and their public. Wolff Olins is the firm that designed the London 2012 brand, a multifaceted design campaign that included much more than the London 2012 logo. Readers may remember the numerous complaints that the logo generated. As my research revealed, this was caused partly due to International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s restrictions and the corporate unwillingness to allow for the full application of what might be seen as a “no logo” campaign.
Wolff Olins proposed an open-source framework that would integrate the public by providing a design language that could be shaped into new forms and messages. The designers’ intention was to “hand over some tools that would allow people to make everything they wanted.” Design would be “off the podium, onto the streets.” But neither the public nor the broader designers’ community were ready to accept that the Wolff Olins team showed no compliance to the usual set of corporate instruction and that what they were trying to achieve lied beyond the creation of beautiful forms.
London 2012 event. Photo by Gary Etchell. Used with permission. All rights reserved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gary8345/557769058/
The designers’ goal was to evoke an effect similar to that of the Mexico 1968 design: a visual language designed by Lance Wyman that was not only appropriated by the counter-Olympic movement, but also marked future visual languages developed by local designers in Mexico. In a way, Wolff Olins’ design succeeded in its adaptability, even though its multiple viral deconstructed versions that appeared on the streets and online were meant to primarily express conspiracy and protest, or even a disdain for the very visual language that the designers provided (and which these “dissidents” are now using).
But why would designers today strive for openness and participation? And why should IOC, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), or the general public be indifferent or even hostile to these intentions? After all, are there any designs that would meet the aspirations of all stakeholders: Olympic organizers, designers, and their multiple publics? The Olympics, as indeed most public events, are complex platforms that bring to the surface deep social conflicts and generate heated debates about the notion of public good. The new temporary or permanent configurations that are designed for the Olympics express these tensions and often become the targets of opposing voices.
Everyone today recognizes that the modern Olympics only partly concern sports. Few, though, are aware of the multiplicity of the design engagements that are mobilized for their realization. Being characterized as something between urban festivals and quasi-religious events, the Olympics have a strong ceremonial character that design generates. Hundreds of designers are mobilized to create a series of objects (logos, posters, uniforms, mascots, souvenirs) that are indispensable for the Olympic ensemble. This may seem to some a contemporary distortion to the original 19th century idea of the modern Olympics’ founder, Pierre De Coubertin, but Coubertin was keenly aware of the importance of design for the identity of the Games. He designed what has been credited as the most recognizable logo in the word, the Olympic rings, and spent considerable energy in prescribing the ceremonial characteristics of the event, with writings on subjects that ranged from attention to lighting and decoration, to specifications on the architecture of the venues.
Photograph in newspaper (unspecified) of Richard Beck working on the design for the Olympic poster. This proto-version differs from the final design, particularly in its typography. Collection: Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 92/1256–1/4. Used with permission.
The design for the Olympics has been an overlooked subject in the fields of design history and Olympic studies alike. Olympic design’s role as an instrument of modernity becomes obvious, for instance, in the way British athletes’ uniforms were designed for the early Opening Ceremonies, expressing but also helping to shape the identity of modern Britain. The Melbourne 1956 poster designer, Richard Beck, abandoned the neoclassical body of the male athlete that characterized earlier Olympic posters for a non-figurative composition along the tenets of modern design.
As it has become only too obvious with the current case of London, in late modernity the Olympics are also an opportunity for new infrastructure projects and major real estate enterprise, which leave a debatable legacy to the host-city. Planners, architects, and urbanists play a major role in this process, as well as those who sponsor, lease, or invest in the projects in the longue durée of the post-Olympic era. The design for the Mexico 1968 Olympics had significant ideological implications for the social segregation that marked the future of Mexico City. The architecture of the Athens 2004 Olympics is emblematic of ‘instant monumentality’ and a lack of legacy planning that has characterized many modern Olympics.
At the same time, the high visibility, budget, and scale of the Olympics have provided designers with opportunities to realize ambitions that are not possible through ordinary projects, and to envision ideas that are often too advanced for their times. Katsumi Masaru for instance insisted in compiling a design manual for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games (a set of prescriptions that would secure the unified application of the graphics, and thus a cohesive Olympic image), even though he knew too well that it could hardly be applied in the Tokyo Olympics per se. Indeed it was completed just before the start of the Games leaving nevertheless an important legacy for all forthcoming Olympics for which a design manual became a staple. Should we similarly expect that the “no logo” idea of the London 2012, with its openness and lack of corporate compliance, is signaling a new paradigm shift?
Jilly Traganou is Associate Professor in Spatial Design Studies at the School of Art and Design History and Theory, at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. She has published widely in academic journals, has authored The Tokaido Road: Traveling and Representation in Edo and Meiji Japan (Routledge, 2003) and co-edited Travel, Space, Architecture (Ashgate, 2009). She is currently working on a new book Designing the Olympics: (post-) National Identity in the Age of Globalization. Traganou has recently edited a special issue titled “Design Histories of the Olympic Games” for the Journal of Design History, where she also serves as Reviews Editor.
The new issue of the Journal of Design History titled “Design Histories of the Olympic Games” introduces the Olympics as a multifaceted design operation that generates diverse, often conflicting, agendas. Who creates the rhetorical framework of the Olympics, and how is this expressed or reshaped by design? What kind of ambitions do designers realize through their engagement with the Olympics? What overall purposes do the Olympics and their designs serve? ‘The Design Histories of the Olympic Games’ brings together writings by a new generation of scholars that cross the boundaries between traditional disciplines and domains of knowledge. Some of the articles look at the role of Olympic design (fashion design and graphic design) in representing national identity. Other articles look at the interconnected area of architecture, urbanism and infrastructure and the permanent legacy that these leave to the host city. You can view more on the Journal of Design History’s Design Histories of the Olympic Games Pinterest board too.
Today, I am the guest of Karen S. Elliott, The Word Shark, at her blog for writers and readers. I discuss my path to becoming a book designer and illustrator and list out the steps involved in creating illustrations for an author and/or publisher.
A semester has just ended. Although there are always things that can be better it was a good semester. I had a discussion at lunch with Brian Memmott, a faculty colleague, about typography. My mantra for this semester has been, “Invite the reader into the content.” In the past my typographic mantra has been “You need to learn to see.” I still believe that students of typography need to “learn to see” but the statement itself is abstract and difficult for students to grab ahold of. All of them can get ahold of what attracts their attention and invites them to come in for a visit.
Invite readers to come in for a visit.
While the students are still in the beginning stages of learning about type, I am hopeful that observing typography from this new vantage point will invite and encourage them to learn to clearly communicate the content as they are learning to see.
When Andrea & I vacationed in Italy back in 1999, we checked out this cool flea market in Rome with lots of fun old stuff. Found this 45 record (above) in a record bin. Love the design. I've always cherished it. One of these days I'm gonna listen to this record. It's imperative that I do.
While working on my interview with Molly Leach about her jacket and interior design for the 50th anniversary edition of A Wrinkle in Time, I was reminded of all the terms that have alternate meanings outside the world of print design and production. Here’s a vocabulary quiz, but see how many you can answer without using a search engine. Most people in the book world should know at least a couple of these.
Henri’s Walk To Paris, by Leonore Klein and illustrated by Saul Bass. I first mentioned this here several months back, and it’s now available. First published in 1962, this was Bass’s only children’s book that he illustrated. I’ve written up a review on my blog, if you’re curious.
The colors and spreads look amazing. Universe has done a great job in ensuring that the printing match the original edition, which, if you can believe it, was released exactly 50 years ago. (Universe also reissue M. Sasek’s This Is… Series.) Well worth the wait.
Happy 2012! I began the new year working on a poster for Virago Theatre Company’s upcoming production, A Taste of Honey.
According to Virago Theatre: A sensation in the late fifties and early sixties with its bold racial and sexual themes, and boasting huge successes in London, Paris and on Broadway, Delaney’s script is considered a masterpiece of character driven black comedy. A Taste of Honey is directed by Virago Artistic Director Laura Lundy-Paine and performed in San Francisco’s intimate Thick House Theater.
About the artwork and design: A combination of brush pen illustration and digitally altered photographs–a stained paper bag and the face of woman on a 1950s advertisement–coupled with clean, modernistic design atop beautifully chaotic “grime.” In short: A mixed “mess.”
Platform: iOS 3.0 and later iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
Cost: $ .99
Animation Creator is perfect for teens who like to draw and are into graphic design. I know teens at my Library who read Manga and watch anime; most every library has these teen patrons. From time to time they can be found sketching out drawings on the sides of binders and notebooks rendering their favorite characters in some crazy action pose. This app is also equally appealing to anyone who enjoys illustrating their own comics or zines.
The app is very sleek and easy to use. Many apps require a one-time tutorial that I never follow unless I really get stuck. The teens I know are not going to sit there waiting patiently as an app shows them how to use it. They want to dive right in and experience it themselves! After all, if they can’t figure it out on their own they won’t be interested long enough to learn how to use it anyway. However, if you do need some extra help, there is a nifty demonstration you can follow.
So here is what you need to know: when you first launch the app, you will see a gray background with a simple animation of a walking stick figure. This is the demonstration animation. Feel free to watch it to get a feel for how your animation will eventually come to life. If you are ready to start, click on the “add” button in the top right hand corner to get started on your first graphic. A drop-down menu will appear; select “edit.” Now you may create your first graphic. You are able to create a series of images or however many you see fit. In a way, it is similar to making a flip book. Once you have finished your first image layer, you can now hit the arrow on the bottom right that looks like this (>). Clicking the “add” button again will bring you to your next layer, where you can still see a faint image of your first drawing so that you can then trace or adjust the second graphic for mobility. This ability to see the previous layer is referred to as “onion skinning”.
Once you are satisfied with your drawings, it is time to animate! By selecting the “play” button, the screen flips over and up pops a tool bar where you can adjust the speed of the animations as well as the option to loop the animation to play over and over. In the drawing toolbar, you will find other options such as brush thickness, color changes, tool types, and uploading audio and photos.
The simplicity of the app initially appealed to me, but once I saw its potential I quickly realized the app could be so much more with just a few tweaks. Perhaps in a future upgrade, we will see some more depth with possible 3D capabilities. As a teen librarian, I look forward to incorporating it into a teen program in the near future.
There was some interest in a previous blog I wrote on creating the book cover for Melissa Kline's young adult sci-fi novel, My Beginning. So, I decided to repost this article, which originally appeared on Lucky Press's blog.
* * *
I love creating illustrations for book covers, but there are some interesting common moments that happen in nearly every case. First, I have a vague idea of what the cover might look like. This idea germinates with the input of the publisher and author (In this case, Lucky Press is the publisher, so I wore two hats, publisher and designer. Cynthia Neale's input regarding historical costume and Norah's personality was vital.)
Second, I am sure that implementing that vision will be too difficult for me to accomplish. Three, I figure out (well, okay, I wake up one morning and have a good guess) how I might be able to create the cover. Four, I begin the process and worry again that it's not what I want it to be. Five, everything clicks and I finish it (which usually coincides with arrival of deadline).
1. You can read a synopsis of Norah at this link, but basically it is about an Irish immigrant, Norah McCabe, whose family lives in Five Points in New York City in the second half of the 1800s. Norah is in her early twenties, strong-minded and creative. She owns her own used-clothing shop, and takes cast-offs from wealthy women and resells them. She also dreams of being a journalist -- there is no stopping Norah from reaching her dreams.
We wanted a cover that would capture Norah's strength, her love of fine clothes, and the "feeling" of that period in NYC's history. I asked the author, Cynthia Neale, to send me any documentation she might have on dresses Norah might have worn (though Norah is a fictional character, accurate historical details were most important to the author as she wrote her book). Cynthia sent me a book of historical costumes, noting the images correlating to Norah's generation; I also found some costume images, from museums, online (see photo at left).
2. In the meantime, I also looked at photographs available from stock photo agencies. There was one photo that I liked very much, but the woman's face was not right for Norah. I also looked at images of women in period costumes, but they all looked very posed. Here are some images we came across (available from Superstock Images):
0 Comments on Birth of a Book Cover: Norah as of 1/1/1900
First, congratulations to yesterday's winner, CollenFL, who won a set of Penny Vincenzi's best novels. Thank you again for your enthusiasm! We're so excited for our wonderful books to be finding new homes and, hopefully, new fans.
Today's contest is one we've been thinking about for quite some time. While many outside the art and design world might not know Milton Glaser by name, you've definitely seen his work--it includes the iconic "I Heart NY" logo as well as DC Comics' old logo the "DC Bullet," and the logo for the delicious and quirky Brooklyn Brewery. He co-founded New York magazine and last year was awarded the National Medal of the Arts.
So you know Milton Glaser is a living legend. He's also written a number of books. DRAWING IS THINKING is perhaps our favorite--it's a deeply personal look at how the mind works in visually representing reality. More about the book:
Based on his view that all art has its origin in the impulse both to create and, visually, to do this by drawing, he has designed a book that powerfully delineates this position. In Drawing is Thinking, the drawings depicted are meant to be experienced sequentially, so that the reader or viewer not only follows Glaser through these pages, but comes to inhabit his mind. The drawings represent a sweeping range of subject matter taken from the full range of a reflective master's career. They represent the author's commitment to the fundamental idea that drawing is not simply a way to represent reality, but, as the title suggests, a way to understand and experience the world.
This beautiful book can be appreciated both by artists and designers familiar with Glaser's work and by anyone interested in the beauty of the world around them. We'll be giving away THREE AUTOGRAPHED COPIES as the perfect holiday gift for yourself or for someone very special.
We still have eight giveaways to go, plus a very special BONUS giveaway related to the upcoming film adaptation of TRUE GRIT. Check back daily for more! Hope you're enjoying the holiday season--and these giveaways--as much as we are!
In keeping with this week's challenge, I'm showcasing the letter "E"! I started doing designs for the alphabet at the start of this year and I've got 5 so far... only 21 more to go. Look for #6 coming soon.
I just got back from a wonderful trip to Chicago for the HOW Design Conference. What an amazing, exhausting and inspiring experience! It was a huge conference, with a couple thousand designers in attendance. There were over 30 speakers, including Gael Towey, Chief Creative Director of Martha Stewart Living magazine and her husband Steven Doyle, who designed the Martha Stewart Living logo (he carved the letters by hand, I should add, which is amazing!). I could go on for paragraphs about all of the great design work I saw, and the inspiring sessions that I attended, but instead I will leave you with a few photos.
Image by EpicGraphic I love this simple graphic! It visually explains the difference between a good presentation and a boring one. To explain the graphic design business, for instance, the first two images are what I get from a client and the third image is what I give back to them.