This is the latest cover art for Marketing Magazine. The topic is, of course, the necessity for increasing marketing activity during this slump in the economy. All Marketing covers are put together by Jamie Helly and the team at Dynamo Design who won both the packaging design award and the Grand Prix in 2008’s IDEA Awards. Well done.
The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan organisation have just launched their new financial report, designed by Toronto-based design studio, The Works. The studio art director’s vision for the project used illustration to convey the central theme of this year’s report which is ‘balance’.
Although The Works had a clear idea of the principal image which is one of a high-wire unicyclist, they wished to use other characters throughout the design to focus on other activities of the OTPP.
Several rounds of sketches were made to present ideas for various aspects of the report. However, after consideration by the designers and the client, the concept was kept to one character.
You can see here, the development of the central character. The sketch at left was my first rough rendering which was changed according to the designers’ comments. The final illustration kept close to this last drawing, save for the objects being juggled. A nice idea was to show the reverse of the unicyclist on the back cover:
We’re moving towards election time again. The current issue of Marketing Magazine features one of my illustrations. The feature article describes the challenge that advertising creatives face when commissioned to create campaigns for political parties.
If you click on the above image itself, you’ll see a larger version.
I want to give you an idea of the process and collaboration that ended with the illustration as it appears [a collaboration between Michael Cullen, editor of the magazine, Jamie Cullen of Dynamo and myself]. The first rough sketch is the one that we felt conveyed the message in the strongest way. Like in previous posts, there were others, but there’s neither the space or the inclination on my part to show them!
Once this was accepted, I felt that the composition could be improved and made more lively. Also, I thought our creative should have the full hatchback head rather than a little back door and that we should see the brief a little more clearly.
So I submitted sketch 2, which was duly approved and I rendered the final illustration. It was completed in acrylics on Winton oils paper. So, that’s it. Vote for me! And invest in Marketing Magazine – try their web site.
First, I’d just like to wish a very happy and peaceful Christmas to both my readers!
Apparently, ’tis the season to send badly designed Christmas cards to people that you don’t know very well, in the hope of generating a bit of oul’ business. For, as it was once told to me by a wizened old marketing professional -you can send all the flyers you want during the course of a year but people will only remember the Christmas card.
I agree -but only if the card is worth looking at. I just received one from the garage that sold me my second-hand car seven years ago [as I have done every year since]. Although it doesn’t take the gong for worst card design, it comes eye-wateringly close. There is no excuse for sending abysmal cards unless you’re a graphic designer in a corduroy jacket who could say with a knowing smile, ‘This card is an ironic statement’.
Seems to me that all such cards generate is indifference, or worse; enmity. If the person to whom a card is sent is not a personal friend- then the card must have some other obvious merit. It should be very funny or very arresting in some other way. You can’t get good results from a picture lifted from a royalty-free image CD or one that has a company logo plastered garishly across the cover illustration. I venture to suggest that cards’ inner messages should also be hand-written, perhaps with a wry humorous note [since there may be no personal relationship with the receiver].
And… since companies habitually decide to include Christmas in their marketing strategies; they shouldn’t leave such important design choices to busy office managers or outsource the task of design to printers [printers and design are like builders and varnish; they don’t mix]. There are plenty of great illustrators and graphic designers -who are born for such work and can advise on approach. There are also excellent cards made by some of the charities, like Oxfam or The Irish Cancer Society. So, there’s plenty of choice -all well worth the expense and which could start generating a bit of warmth in these cold-hearted times.
Perhaps as image-makers, we’re not doing enough to convince people in the general business community of the value of design?
I’d wecome your thoughts on the subject. Have you received any cards this year that provoked a wince? Clean your stomach contents from your shoes and tell me about it.
A Very Bouncy Project
I’ve just completed a small movie, tracking the course of a single illustration. It should go some way to explain how I work -at least once rough sketches have been approved by the client. I had enormous fun making it. Basically, it’s a series of still shots taken while the artwork was being hand-painted in acrylic on Arches watercolour paper [my preferred method!].
Click here for the movie
You’ll notice that I decided some way into the work to eliminate the background. It’s a decision I allowed myself as I had complete control over the final look; the final art not being created for a client.
The thing that really got me excited about the project was licencing the music. It’s the first time I’ve ever ventured into the whole area of licencing a piece of art as a client. Joanna at www.penguincafe.com was wonderful, however, and seemed enthused about the idea. I was sad to learn of Simon Jeffes’ [the Penguin’s composer and founder] untimely death some years ago; it completely passed me by. I’ve loved his eccentric music since the early eighties, although I think he even arranged music for the absurd Sex Pistols film ‘The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle’, so the PCO go back quite a bit further.
Enjoy the movie.
Just a little observation about blandness. It struck me the other day that communications sent out from businesses should be like a haka. If ever there was a statement of intent, conviction, values and unity, it’s in the haka. It’s unequivocal and leaves no doubt about the serious drubbing you’re going to get, once all the gods and ancients tool up and join the rest of the team in the field. ‘You’re not only playing us, you pathetic fools’ it seems to say, ‘you’ve got several volcano gods and all the tribal spirits to deal with’.
Well, when you see the drab uninspired stock photography that populates corporate literature all around, think of the haka. Only illustration that you commission, that you collaborate on will tell your company’s story and call down your gods. Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei! The alternative? Taking the field with a reworked Westlife song [in other words a picture of two businessmen shaking hands -or any of thousands of other boring, mediocre pictures that may well already have been used by your competitors]. Your team will exit the field with its collective ass in a sling. Don’t do it. If you feel the urge to reach for a stock image, call me and, as your team coach, I’ll roar at you in the changing room. Au, au, aue ha!
This haka was first performed by the All Blacks versus South Africa on 27 August 2005 at Carisbrook, Dunedin. The All Blacks won 31 – 27. This haka was written by Ngati Porou’s Derek Lardelli. This haka will only be performed before special test matches. Sourced from http://www.nzallblacks.net/haka.asp
Kapo o pango haka:
Kapa o pango kia whakawhenua au i ahau!
Let me become one with the land
Hi aue, hi! Ko Aotearoa e ngunguru nei!
This is our land that rumbles
Au, au, aue ha!
And it’s my time! It’s my moment!
Ko Kapa o Pango e ngunguru nei!
This defines us as the All Blacks
Au, au, aue ha!
It’s my time! It’s my moment!
I ahaha! Ka tu te ihiihi
Ka tu te wanawana
Our supremacy will triumph
Ki runga ki te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei, hi!
And will be placed on high
Kapa o Pango, aue hi!
Kapa o Pango, aue hi, ha!