Last year sort of disappeared down a disease-shaped hole for me. It isn't design-related so I didn't post it here, but you can read about it on Medium if you'd like. Now that I am recovering, and gradually able to return to work I am suddenly aware of how much strength and stamina it takes to fully engage with creative work. So take care of your bodies, we're fragile machines and we need all of our energy to keep making the beautiful things!
My design work (on upcoming and existing books by author, Joe Casey) was favorably mentioned in this review of Valhalla Mad:
"Casey’s titles tend to have exceptional production design, and the cover for Valhalla Mad, intended to look like the weathered binding of an ancient text, is sure to make it stand out on comic store shelves."
I'm very excited to be working on this series and designing each cover to echo a different era of the decorative arts. Working with talented artist, Paul Maybury is another bonus, as his beautifully painted art completes every cover design.
Sometimes you find an original poster for a film which speaks volumes about the era in which it was made. This is one of those. Using the simple and unusual (at the time) device of a pattern made simply from the long title of the film is eye-catching. Using Cooper Black to do so is quintessentially of that era, so fashionable in 1969, but so completely out of fashion now. Despite the apparent modernity of a poster featuring a single sentence in a single typeface, this is far from minimal, and instead speaks to the brutally decorative designs styles typical of that time. I love it.
Above is Allen Jones' masterful abstraction of legs, shoes, and above all, the overt approach to sexuality at the time... Relevant to our culture now, the painted nature of the image betrays it's artificiality and the false nature of the male gaze.
For 3 years I've been trying to remember his name, I wanted to cite the influence his work had on my approach to the mood of the covers of the SEX collections, specifically volume 2 (pictured right.) Clearly the end-result of my work is quite different, changing the posture, line quality, color palette, etc to come to a new conclusion. When I was working on it, I kept describing Jones' work to my collaborators but they didn't knew what I was talking about. Finally a friend mentioned Jones in passing and now I finally have some context to place this cover in.
It's a shame that people post these inspirational quotes with such a glaring error, so instead of inspiring me they just irritate me! Lately I've taken to photographing signage and logos which use inch and feet marks instead of apostrophes and quotation marks. Businesses and stores invest money in creating graphics, erroneously trusting their designers to do a professional job but in these cases they're sadly let down. Here are a few recent offenders.
It's always fun to engage in a bit of non-design design work (if you see what I mean). In this instance, using a terrible old Marvel ad to inspire a kitsch ad for a new superhero comic book.
When The Bounce first began I wanted to create a teaser ad which would pay homage to the excitement of superhero teaser ads from our childhood. Using an old Cloak & Dagger ad as inspiration (see above, left), this is the finished ad as it appeared in the back of Image Comics and online (above, right). The type has damage elements, with bad leading and kerning added as well which gives it that look of old rub-down type like Letraset. The background uses a scan of torn, aged paper to reinforce the vintage feel, and the yellowed tone is allowed to show through the featured covers to complete the aged look.
A few months ago, during a conversation about his book "Street Angel" with author Jim Rugg, I mentioned my frustration with using fluorescent inks on my covers; Like silver ink, fluorescent ink requires a double print to register as truly fluorescent and this second pass at the printer is what makes it too expensive for most projects. Rugg talked about the emotional impact of color and discussed adding a tint to the original black and white art of the book.
Recently he got in touch to share the ink swatches for the second printing of "Street Angel"; it features a light pink paper with purple ink, and the cover and spine is now using a two-pass, truly fluorescent pink. He included swatches of the colors to give me an early look at how the book would look (see images, above). These colors work on multiple levels. First of all the story is about a very atypical little girl, and so the use of pink as a traditional girl's color subverts the meaning of it, reinforcing the impact of her role as a powerful, aggressive fighter (i.e. traditionally non-girly). Then from a design history standpoint, the combination of pink and purple echoes the old mimeographs so many of us remember from elementary school letters and announcements. Obviously in this instance the quality of the printing is pristine, unlike the crumbly old mimeographs, but the emotional impact of childhood and the implication of taking the reader back to a time of childhood fantasies is strong.
In addition, the new color treatment of "Street Angel" is now being serialized on Boing Boing, and the book is available as a two-pack (along with his "Afrodisiac" book) in a custom designed sleeve published by AdHouse Books (see image, above left). All of this make "Street Angel" a definite must-own, for both readers and designers.
My cover for the collection of all 12 issues of The Bounce is now up online and so I can finally share it with you! (Click on the image to view a larger version.)
To create this image I designed a collage of David Messina's gorgeous interior artwork, choosing elements which would be representative of the journey of the story. The trade paperback will be available from Image Publishing, in stores this November but you can pre-order it using the code here.
If you find yourself at San Francisco International Airport, check out the fantastic exhibition of advertising icons (from Warren Dotz' collection, on display until January 15th). I only had my phone to record the joy, but you get a good idea of how rich and varied this colorful collection of vintage international characters is.
The beauty of an ebullient exhibition like this, is that by placing it right opposite the "departures" area, you are provided with a distraction from the sadness of saying goodbye to loved ones. It is an emotionally considerate arrangement and I enjoyed it immensely. (Click on the thumbnails to view larger pics.)