Archives for the month of: July, 2010

I love ampersands...I love thunderbolts...

POW!! Some new work to post! I tell ya, there’s absolutely nothing better than sharing your passion with other people. So this is some self-initiated work ( like all my work (un)fortunately) I did super early this morning.  I, like LOTS of designers, am obsessed with ampersands.  You know, that curly jawn that your english 101 professer used to give you crap for using. Mine did, anyway…jerk.  Anyway, I love ampersands and I doodle them all the time.  I have no idea why I love ’em so much but I do.  I’m always trying to create a custom one or incorporate one into a project. So I figured I kill 2 birds with one stone!

As you can probably tell from the new banner image I put up ( you did notice the new banner, right?) I’m really focused on this throwback distorted VHS tip right now.  I was inspired by, of all things, the movie “The Ring”.  You know how in the movie they watch that tape and a bunch of spooky and down-right funny shit happens in it?  Well its the quality of the tape that really makes it spooky.  And that’s what I wanted to replicate.  There’s just something kinda sorta awesome about it.  It took me a while to figure out how to make it a reality but now that I have, I’m gonna run it into the damn ground!  Be prepared to see a series of pieces utilizing this style.  I don’t want it to be my signature style, as I believe that a signature style makes you a one-trick pony.  But I will use it until it I can’t stand to look at it anymore.

When I work on a project I try to listen to music that fits the theme of the piece, so as to really put myself in the right head-space to communicate a feeling or message. For this piece I had a few things on blast and on repeat. The album from heavy-duty electronic producer Lorn, titled “Nothing Else”, got quite a few plays.  And the OST to the movie “Inception” was sprinkled in there too.  What a great soundtrack. Hans Zimmer is a music God. Yeah, I said it.  And just to cover all my bases I threw the new(ish) album from O.Children in there too.  Great stuff to get down, dirty and dark to.

As far as my design objectives for this piece, I really didn’t have anything concrete.  I just wanted to make a custom ampersand and make what I call a “flash” piece.  It doesn’t really mean anything or have some message to be communicated. It’s just nice to look at.  And I think I did just that.  Its pretty slick lookin’ and  now I got an ampersand that I can throw up anywhere and know it’s mine.  Although, I will say that its a design I plan on tweaking in the future…I like it and it works but I think I can make it better.  Not quite sure what I’d do to it but I know somethings getting tweaked.

Ok I told myself I’d keep this post short so I’m done.  On to the next project!

Both versions here.

So this is the first post of work I’ve done for someone other than myself.  And, DAMN, does it feel good to post some work!  About a year ago or so my girlfriend, and all-around classy gal, Erin launched her blog No Love More Sincere .  It’s a foodie blog. It showcases her adventures in cooking (and my eating), our date nights out to fancy-schmancy restaurants, and all sorts of stuff related to her genuine love of the culinary world.  From day 1 she had every intention to get her name out there in the foodie bloggin’ world.  And what better way to get people to check your site out than to hand them a business card, right? So I cranked one out for her.

Waitaminute…I’d be lying outta my teeth if I were to say I just “cranked”one out, like it was a latte or something.  No, it was a Process, with a capital ‘P’.  Nothing earth-shattering or anything.  But it definitely wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  And it wasn’t difficult because I had designer-block or anything. No, it was difficult because I was breaking one of the very first, and arguably the most important, design rules I ever learned: Never do work for friends, family or loved ones.  This rule is, like, the first of the 10 Crack Commandments (do yourself a favor and go look them up).  It often gets overlooked, but there’s a reason its #1.  And this experience definitely reminded me of why it’s so important to follow the design rules I’ve been taught, both the academic ones and the lifestyle ones.  And it’s not to say that Erin was super difficult to work with. I mean, we had our moments, but it wasn’t like she behaved any different than any client would. The Nit-picking, the indecisiveness…all of it. But she’s not a super-difficult women so, therefore, she wasn’t a super-difficult client.  (Love you baby!)

No, what made this project so damned difficult was the pressure to make it absolutely perfect. I’m talkin’ about making something that’s exactly how she wanted it. And that totally appeased (?) her.  Sometimes you have a bit of wiggle room with clients about the final product.  But when the client is your ol’ lady and she’s the one  feeding your broke ass, you get it right. EXACTLY RIGHT. And eventually I did. But what’s more important than getting it exactly right was producing work that really made someone happy.  She loves them and whenever she gets the chance she crams one in someone’s hand. I gotta tell ya, it feels soooooo good to have a piece of your work in other people’s hands.  I’ve done a little bit of freelance work before. And to be honest, it sucked. Not the work itself. It was OK. The process and the outcome sucked. But this…this felt great. Still does, to be honest.  I honestly consider this project to be my very first successful design project.

Ok so I left a HUGE chunk of the project out of this post. It involved a ridiculous timetable for completion of the project, which I nailed (pats self on back), and an experience with the printer that was…special.  But everything worked out OK so I don’t feel to bad about leaving all that rubbish out.  I’m all about focusing on the positives these days so that’s what I’m doing here.  Below you can see both versions of the card individually.  I decided on two different colorways because I really liked the idea of a little variety in the product. Ideally, every single person that ever got one would get a different one, so to speak.

The Seafoam one here:

Seafoam-y goodness.

And the Salmon one here:

Soft, elegant, sincere salmon

The main design objective here was simplicity, clarity, and earnestness.  And in satisfying these particular needs I believe I created a really pretty design.  Cute, but not saccharin.  Simple, but not lacking.  Can you really ask for anything more?

Wait, don’t answer that…

Farewell Kindness, Humanity and Gratitude! Farewell to all the feelings that expand the heart.  I have been Heaven’s substitute to recompense the good.  Now the God of Vengeance yields to me his power to punish the wicked.”

This may seem a tad dramatic but I think it’s quite fitting for this, the very first post on Air & Light R//D.  This is, or will be I should say, my online design portfolio.  As a young designer who has been met with marginal success the above quote perfectly  conveys my deepest, most earth-shattering desire and soul-wrenching need to live, work, and exist as a designer.  For too long I have told myself that ‘one day‘ I’d get my sh*t together and get serious about my career. That, ‘one day’ I’d start displaying my work and seeking to establish myself as professional.  That ‘one day’ I’d be good enough, either in my own eyes or everyone else’s , to hand someone a business card and no longer fear telling them what I do and that I can do what I do for them. And do it well.

Well ‘one day’ is Today.  No longer will I be afraid to put myself, and my work, out there for any and everyone to see, critique, judge etc. Today, with the establishment of this blog,  I set my fears, my inadequacies, and my bullsh*t aside. As time goes on I hope to not only display my design work but to share a bit of Me with everyone. And as anyone who knows me knows that I’m a No-BS kinda guy. I’ll never lie to you or purposely mislead you. And in saying that I can say that there is a great deal about the professional design world that I know jack-sh*t about.  But what I lack in knowledge and experience, I more than make up for in true, pure, unbridled passion.  I may not have done it before but I know in my heart of hearts that I can learn it, do it, and crush it.

So Fare-thee-well to all the doubt, the uncertainty, to the cowardice and to everything in me that made this day impossible until Today.

And in saying farewell, I’d like to say Hello & Welcome to Air & Light Research//Design.