Columbus, Ohio-based Danielle Evans, who goes by the firm name Marmalade Bleue, pursues a quirky design genre – food typography. She uses food ingredients to create very ephemeral letterforms, such as in a “Food for Thought” video for Target stores.
On her Marmalade Bleue blog, Evans explains how her approach differs from others who have used food ingredients as a writing medium. “Food type had been used sparingly as one-offs in the past, all of which utilized the materials incidentally without applying a typographer’s touch,” she says. “The novelty of food as lettering trumped the presentation and legibility of the forms. I chose to apply my background in illustration, sculpting, and painting to create letterforms with dimension, play of light and edges, and happenstance flourishes with personality.”
Describing her methodology, Evans adds, “Rarely do I use typefaces or fonts to influence my work, instead I rely on the materials to dictate the best course. I’ve chosen a symbiotic relationship with my materials, suggesting rather than forcing their direction. Lettering allows for incidental flourishes and ligatures associated with calligraphy, the true nature of my work.” Intriguing and beautiful. Read More »
TheAtlantic.com has been running a series of charming infographics on topics ranging from hairstyles in the 20th century to the history of weapons over the ages. Created by Jackie Lay, a designer, illustration and art director for The Atlantic Magazine, the brief animated timelines combine flat-graphic illustrations with one inconsequential element in the picture showing subtle movement. A wisp of hair gently moving out of place. A cloud slowly passing across the sky. Steam lazily curling up from a hot cup of coffee. The movement isn’t part of the storyline, but it entices the viewer to pay closer attention. It carries the viewer into the next frame. Without that almost infinitesimal movement to grab the viewer’s interest, the image would be what it actually is: A still illustration. Animation doesn’t always have to be a full-blown Pixar-like extravaganza. Sometimes a little movement makes all the difference between stagnant and intriguing. Read More »
Without a strong concept, illustration is just glorified doodling. The same can be said of design as well. Those entering these professions need to exhibit more than technical skill; they need to engage their minds and imaginations to get at the crux of the story they want to tell.
I was reminded of this while watching Craig Frazier’s video. A prolifically talented illustrator who still sketches thumbnails with pen and ink and cuts his final image out of rubylith film, Craig explains. “If there is anything magical about making illustration, it happens at the sketch stage. That’s when the idea comes out of the pen. The DNA of the illustration exists right in the sketch. If it is not there, it is not going to show up later on.”
Not much is known about the artist who created this Gangnam Style video, except that he goes by the moniker “etoilec1” on YouTube. The hand-drawn images are synced precisely to the music, making this animation fun to watch. Some report that the audio had to be removed for copyright issues, but it is up now…for how long, we don’t know.
Herself Magazine is a bi-annual, all-illustrated fashion publication produced in the UK. Virtually every image shows celebrity “models” (living, dead and animated) wearing high fashion apparel and jewelry by the likes of Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Boucheron and Faberge. The models’ poses and background settings all look like they were copied from high-end fashion photographs – and maybe they were. Every illustration is drawn by a person named Lula, who identifies herself as editor in chief and creative director, with art direction by Annual. No other staff credits are given.
A very text-light publication, Herself includes fictitious Q-A interviews between Herself and stars including Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, and Susan Sontag. Another article in Issue 2 features Disney fairy tale princesses, including Pocahontas, Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White, modeling contemporary fashions. As concepts go, Herself is intriguing, unique, and surreal.
The new Hertz ad campaign theme “Traveling at the Speed of Hertz” isn’t meant to imply that Hertz cars go faster than those of other rental companies, but to suggest that Hertz can get you in and out of their rental lot in a flash. For customers, quick, hassle-free service is really where “the rubber meets the road” when it comes to renting a car. That’s the focus of the Hertz print ad campaign by DDB New York, which introduces Hertz’s Gold Plus Rewards program. Illustrated by Christopher Grey, the print ads feature strong stylized graphics and bold solid colors and the message that customers will enjoy a carefree “lot experience.” The “Bypass Lines” poster doesn’t even show a car, just a superman-type customer soaring over a long line of waiting people.
“Why Asian advertising is strong and mystic” was the theme of AdFest 2011, an exhibition of the best ad work in Asia. Commissioned by the Yoshida Hideo Memorial Foundation/ Advertising Museum Tokyo to promote this pan-Asian event, Dentsu Inc. in Osaka developed a poster series with lavish illustrations that reminds one of a reflexology foot chart or, in the case of the open palm, like a spiritual mudra (a hand gesture that symbolizes divine manifestation).
Middagsfrid — a service that delivers wholesome fresh foods, menu plans and recipes to subscriber homes in Stockholm — has launched a line of its own branded products. Stockholm-based agency, Bold, designed the packaging in collaboration with illustrator Peter Herrman. To create a sense of an ideal world filled with preservative-free, farm-to-table ingredients, Herrman sketched a fanciful landscape with a giant cheese grater and mixing bowl tucked among the houses, along with grazing cows and other livestock, horse-drawn cart, fruit-bearing trees and flowers. The idyllic scene is printed on newsprint-like stock to mirror the humble way locally grown goods are wrapped and affixed with a simple red label. The look suggests quality and craftsmanship.
To advertise the fact that Amtrak, America’s nationally owned railway, now offers free wi-fi services on 12 of its East Coast routes, Arnold DC agency in Arlington, Virginia, combined an iconic symbol of each regional route and the wi-fi signal. With creative direction by Mick Sutter and illustrations by Andrew Bannecker, the AmtrakConnect ad campaign kept text to a minimum and let the images speak for themselves.
In-person portfolio showings used to be the way that illustrators and photographers got their work in front of designers and art directors. No longer. Now design firms only want to view portfolios online. Often illustrators and photographers don’t even know if their work is being viewed. It’s a case of “don’t call us; we’ll call you.” But some illustrators are finding a way to draw attention to their work by creating online presentations that entertain and amuse. This one by Elwood H. Smith communicates his style and humor and makes designers look forward to seeing more.
We love student assignments because the parameters are loose enough to let the imagination run free – no client demanding that the piece “work harder” at branding or asking to see the metrics to prove that the design solution had the desired effect on the target audience. They are unbridled creativity, pushing the limits of personal talent and skill. So, when we ran across some animations done by 20-year-old Matthew Young, a graphic and communication design student at the University of Leeds in the UK, we were charmed by his innocent storytelling. “Colin the Umbrella,” completed in a week, fulfills a creative brief to celebrate the ordinary by making it seem extraordinary. Young’s story line has the undercurrent of the soul-searching angst of a young person searching for a meaningful purpose in life — and a sad ending.
This year’s theme art for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships (USTA), which starts August 31 in New York, was designed by Pasadena-based illustrator Paul Rogers. Invited to submit theme art concepts to the USTA for use on posters, banners, tickets, programs, etc., Rogers pencil-sketched more than a half-dozen ideas, and then developed six into fully rendered color images. Rogers admits that “On a project like this I tend to over-produce concept sketches because I don’t want to lose the project due to a half-hearted execution of an idea.”
In its creative brief to the select artists who were paid to submit theme concepts, the USTA cited three requirements. First, if the illustration depicted a player, the figure had to be generic and not recognizable as either a male or female. Second, New York City had to be a key element since the games are played in the renowned Flushing Meadows, located in the borough of Queens. Third, the US Open’s flaming ball logo had to appear in the art. The key impressions to evoke were entertainment spectacle, toughest tennis and high energy.