Monday, September 27, 2010

40 years of New York Times Op-Ed Illustration

A great retrospective of illustration from the pages of the New York Times. The Op-Ed page is 40 years old and with it this look back at some of the best political illustration ever done.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Throwing good money after bad

In an earlier post, I had written about the careless re-design of the quarter. I’ve, since, found these interesting pieces of U.S. currency designed by Dowling Duncan merely as an exploration. I think they’re terrific, even though they tend to be a bit like the Swiss notes that were done back in the nineties.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My talented neighborhood

Recently, my friend and neighbor Kenn Berry invited me into his wife Judy’s floral design studio, Sahana, to see a project that she was working on. It was a series of centerpieces for a young ladie’s Bat Mitzvah. Her assignment was to do something cool with shoes. I was stunned by the creations and struck that when the flowers died, so would these lovely pieces of art. I suggested that we shoot them quickly and do a poster or blurb book. So, Kenn, retired superstar photographer, rigged a make shift seamless set and soon we had the images. A little time in Photoshop and we had some very terrific images. Shortly after that, we had this poster.

But back to my talented neighborhood. In addition to a photographer, Kenn is an expert illustrator of historical objects, specifically WW2 fighters and weaponry. Across the street from Kenn and Judy lives Arie Van Selm, an internationally acclaimed painter and delightful human. His wife Jutta is a professor of languages and equally fascinating. A couple of doors down from Kenn lives Chris Thurman, collector and dealer of extraordinary mid-century modern furniture and objects. And, of course my very talented wife Shari who is a couture quilt designer and blogger extraordinaire. She lives really close to me.

And that’s just what’s going on two houses away from me. Lucky, don’t you think?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blow the spots off the ball

The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa introduced Americans to the vuvuzela, a noisy little plastic horn, that is traditionally blown continuously by fans throughout the game. The noise levels in the stadium were so loud it was said, that it was effecting the quality of play on the field. To the foreign fans the outcry against the vuvuzela was equally as loud. To me, it sounded like a good poster. You can check out all the posters at The Spirit of FIFA: poster design contest.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quarter horsepower

My friends, the McMullens, raise quarter horses. Those are the ones that run really fast. For a city boy like me, horses always meant how many fit under the hood of your car. Rule of thumb, you need at least 300 to get the job done.

This is a logo I did for their quarter horse farm.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ultimate typography thrown to the curb

Seeing Milton Glaser’s classic stencil typeface, Glaser Stencil, thrown to the curb makes me wonder if that is the ultimate achievement of the designer’s art or a death sentence for a great face.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ask why five times

My good friend, client and regular genius Roger Keyte says, if you really want to understand something “Ask why 5 times”. It’s an excellent idea, except if you have teenagers. Take out the trash should be understood after the first why. And only the first time they ask.

I thought it was worthy of a poster.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bad money

As with most badly designed things, the trash can becomes its final resting place. Not so with bad money. These truly ugly objects remain in your pocket everyday as a constant reminder of the lunacy of democratized design.

The design brief for each states quarter was to capture spirit or unique feature of the state in an image or series of images. Each state conducted a design contest for the image that would be used on that states coin. The result? 50 unrelated and badly organized images that are more suitable for tokens at Chuckie Cheese than monetary symbols of the greatest economic power in the world.

The problem is simple. The artist was removed from the process.

I’ve included the older quarter as a reminder of the elegance of the original design.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Virtual poster exhibits

I used to do a lot of posters. The printed kind. Silkscreened, offset litho or whatever got ink on a big piece of paper. Much of them were done for worthy causes with a lot of creative freedom in trade for no pay. Some of them ended up in museums, and competitions and some even in The Library of Congress. It was a lot of fun.

But, I’m happy to say that the poster is back. And better than ever. This time it’s virtual and everyone can participate. Just search for your favorite cause and add the word poster and you will be deluged with posters to review. As always, there is a bunch of garbage. But, from time to time, you’ll see some real design brilliance. Most of these new works are coming from Italy, Spain and South America. Very few Americans seem to be participating in these exhibits.

Here’s a few links to poster exhibits I like.
Check out my poster for the Design Vs. POVERTY exhibition and let me know what you think.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let’s give case studies a rest

In the communications design business, it is understood that a firm without a mountain of flawless case studies is missing a critical business development tool. But let’s be real. Even the most successful outcomes go through some ugly stuff that no one in their right mind would ever consider putting in a formal case study. The question is, do clients really believe a case study written by the creators of the case? I suspect not. No more than potential clients believe the recommendations on my LinkedIn page written by my friends at my request. So from now on, if a prospect asks me for a case study, I will send them to my clients for that information.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eye to eye

Just published “Eye to Eye”, a 30 year-retrospective of posters designed by the Lidji Design Office. Over the next few days, I will post some of the pieces from the book.

While I was working on a poster for a joint meeting of the Dallas Society of Visual Communications and the American Society of Magazine Photographers, photographer Steven Wilkes sent me this remarkable image looking down into the mouth of an angry volcano. The volcano is amazing, but more interesting to me was the secondary image of a fiery eye peering out from inside the earth. Dividing the poster in half and echoing that image in the text below revealed how the two clubs, one for photographers and the other for designers, were inherently interdependant and now coming together as one.

Hoping to uncover unintended connections, I ordered this book at random. But I couldn’t resist consciously placing this poster first. After all, the book is called “Eye to Eye.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

ArtHouse homes, Best builder in Dallas

My friend Mark Albert designs and builds modern homes on spec. Courageous? I’d say so. And after only a few years in the business his homes have garnered D magazines “Best builder in Dallas” award. ArtHouse homes are lovingly crafted and meticulously detailed and really make the neighborhoods look great. Here’s the ad we did for him.

Bat guana and beautiful women

Just completed the photo shoot for the Fall 2010 Collection for Double D Ranch. My rule of thumb is, give me beautiful women, great clothes and a great photographer and we can shoot it in the city dump and it will look great. In this case, we shot in a 100 year-old bat infested abandoned opera house in Yoakum, Texas. My rule holds. Alan Foreman was the photographer and did a great job under miserable conditions.