Wednesday, 01 December 2010 at 23:17

Opera Poster - Refined

After submitting three ideas for the opera posters the most graphic solution was chosen. Upon reconsidering the poster some changes were made. I did not have time when doing the layout to hand draw the type and scan it in. I liked the idea that the line quality generated through the images could connect to the type. I use a combination of hand drawn and digital effects to create textures and edges. I placed near the bottom, a combination fire icon and dance group to represent what are called the Furies of the underworld. I scanned in some old book covers and other grunged up surfaces. In Photoshop, under levels, I cranked up the contrast and converted to black and white. Depending where I place the scale I could really blow out the contrast or not. Its really great to be able to have all of the post production control of an image we have. Eve n though the piece is all digital, I strive to maintain a human or hand done feel. After spending a great deal of time and focus crafting and refining the poster I resubmitted it for approval.
As is the case many times when showing a loose or rough layout, the client gets locked on that particular execution. In this case the graphic simplicity of the original layout may have been lost. Sometimes one can get to close to a solution particularly when working on a deadline. The suggestion to pair back the design in this case was probably a good one.


Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 17:21

Opera Poster Sketches

I had a great opportunity to work with some of the fine people at the Eastman School of Music here in Rochester. I was asked to develop visuals for a real joint venture of dance, theatre, and music for a production of Orpheus and Eurydice, a greek opera being performed at the Harrow East ballroom. I really got a chance to use my art history background as well as America theatre and opera poster design resources. Imagine having a creative director asking for a Maxfield Parish feel. It is definitely a  sub culture.
As I mentioned the group I am working with are very sharp and knowledgeable about their opera, music and history...stuff I was really taken with in High School and into college. Once I got up to speed on the story, ideas seemed to fall right out. The idea that was developed on the conference room table was a romantic Maxfield Parrish view of two lovers. It wold be set in an idyllic landscape with perhaps the dancers (the furies) in the background dancing like flames. Since the play is to be held at the Harrow East, it was suggested to incorporate Greek architectural features much as Parish did in many of his posters.
That was my first layout.

The second was less of a literal translation and rendering but more of a graphic icon approach. This approach incorporated a portrait of Orpheus on top and Eurydice in the underworld on the bottom. The names of each accompany the drawing and all are hand rendered and scanned in. I’m still plying with any other graphics and the amount of grunge to provide an aged historic organic look. This piece is very much a poster, simple graphic readability. I’m thinking letterpress here.
The last layout is a new concept to introduce into the lexicon of this opera. The two branches of the battered tree shown, represent the two torn lovers with the lyre uniting them. This piece is a bit darker, more digital in feel and represents a current design .
The cool part about presenting all three ideas, I got a chance to turn some very astute folks onto some poster design approaches they may not have considered. This may lay some groundwork for future work. The approved direction was number two, the faceoff poster as I have titled it. Stay tuned.


Monday, 25 October 2010 at 18:42

Pumpkin Face

Here is a little pencil drawing from the achieves.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010 at 01:25

New logo Old logo GAP logo

Ok. Its time to stop painting and provide an opionion on the GAP logo dilemma, since branding and identity develop are my specially. Check out this article for background if you have not heard:  debacle

I think to really understand a new logo, one must understand the REASON for rebranding.

I agree with Alina Wheeler that there are generally 6 major reasons to alter or create a brand identity.

1)   When a new company is created

2)   Name change

3)   When the brand needs repositioned

4)   When the brand needs “updated”

5)   When the overall ID system is all over the place

6)   When companies merge

In my career only one of those reasons when mentioned, makes me cringe. The fourth reason — the brand needs updated, modernized, more edgy etc. The challenge with this is the ephemeral nature of those words. They really don’t mean anything. The other is if I really make it hip and cool and now, it will probably polarize the current base. This needs to be ok and understood. This was the mandate for GAP…”We need to update the look.”

The disconnect for me in this case is the new Gap logo featured 60 year old Helvetica as its primary font with the simplest of geometric shapes connected like an exclamation point as its logomark. Now I know this would make Massimo Vignelli and all the ultra minimal modernists very happy, I’m not sure the GAP audience is there. The other big issue is the fact that this is a fashion logo. They behave differently from your ubiquitous corporate logo when after unveiled, slinks away to the company website and “signage” or excuse me, way finding devices. A fashion logo is plaster all over things, like bags boxes and even as a part of the fashion design itself. It is worn as a part of the fashion. People will notice when you change it. You can’t just slip it under the email.

Regardless of the like or don’t like meter of one’s personal preference here, isn’t odd that now the knee jerk reaction of social media can dictate a long-term shift in a company’s personality. Whatever happened to branding from the inside out, or we will become the brand. Maybe it’s a function, like in the case of our local new/old Wegmens rebranding, people just felt too comfortable with the current logo (Which by the way is always the case). The difference here is folks are not in the “forge a new vision and follow me” mode, or at least the corporate leaders are not. No, I believe we are in the hunker down and give me as much familiarity as I can take mode. During bad economic times, it’s comforting to hang onto the old I suppose. One thing I always tell clients going into an update identity project…if anyone really noticed the old logo, they will generally feel more comfortable with that ANY new logo. You need to build the need for a new brand first before you can allow yourself to redo the logo.


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