Thursday, May 24, 2007

All Apologies

hot commodity of the week...

doc martens posters featuring celebrities sporting the boots in the afterlife.

[I am so going to dig up that 'dead rock star' issue of slack magazine- time to sell back issues!]

the question remains:

Do you suffer the irritation/frustration/embarrassment of a public firing to put out what is potentially a highly coveted, viral campaign that shows your edgy conviction or is the whole press release a load of hype?


Why is being a graphic artist such a cool job? Well I am glad you asked....

Sometimes I am sure it seems like I complain a lot about working too much, how hard it is to come up with new and fresh ideas all the time, what a pain in the ass it is to run your own business (in Buffalo, New York), etc. etc. But truth be told, I have a really cool job! I don't mean to brag, but this is fun.

Why Being a Graphic ARTIST is Such a Great Job.. Ready, Set....

10) Get to be your own boss!
Sure it sounds like a cliche. But it really is a great thing. I do have to answer to a lot of people-clients, but on my own time. I never absolutely have to, have to be somewhere if I don't want to. I schedule the meetings within my schedule (and as well, theirs). I don't like Monday morning meetings- I simply try not to have them. period.

09) No Suit or Tie.
Now there are graphic-guys that never wear a tie ever (but there are also some home contractors that don't wear one either). I seldom do- certainly not every day. But when I do wear the 'business get-up', it is because I am visiting a client and I want to dress up. I still get to were funky ties if I wanna...

08) Get To Work When I Want.
OK, we keep 9-5 business hours, but I cut out at 4:00 PM most of the time. I can be late to work if I want to. We can get up and go to the park, go to a store and basically leave whenever we want. Really. We plan our vacations 'not around anyone else's'.

07) Music and Design Go Hand in Hand.
Graphic design has always lend the striking visually identity to music. I am also a DJ and mixing records together is a lot like designing and adding snippets of this idea with that idea. So I have done a lot of CD and cassette packages, rock band posters, DJ posters-- I have met a lot of bands, gotten into a lot of shows for free, free drinks, and some of my good friends are musicians.

06) Got to Go To Art School.
Now going to art school is really a cool thing when you are in your '20s-- beats calculus and pre-med, if you ask me. Now I went to Buff State-- and it isn't Parsons or NYU-- but it had a great program and I got to hang with a lot of cool punk rock, goth, hiphop, rasta type dudes. Out of the ordinary type people, you know. When I went to school we were not designing at all with computers, so it was a lot of craft learned, hands on type stuff. Really great.

05) Technology Is My Friend/My Enemy.
Being in this field, in this era of design, it is all about the MAC- my friend, my enemy, my muse, the devil, an angel. I am not a techie guy by nature, haven't played any video games well, since they were called Arcade Games- think Centipede, Millipede, Asteroids or an occasional Video Golf. But using this computer tool everyday has forced me to be in tune with the technological side of this world. Not a bad thing to know.

04) My Office Is Allowed To Be Messy.
They say a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind.... but what do they say about an office filled with newspaper clippings, stickers, little plastic toys, cards, posters, buttons, vintage computers, piles of notes, sketches, print outs, screenshots, pencils, markers, signs, photos, ticket stubs, t-shirts, illustrations, stamps, comic books, paper sample swatches books, CDs, magnets, postcards, snapshots, flyers, magazines, dominoes, books, action figures, magazines, coupons, coffee cups, folders, papers, autographed album covers, reviews, games, plants and hockey pucks.... eh?

03) Creation- it's a beautiful thang!
To come up with something new out of something old. To design a corporation's entire visual identity out of some typefaces and some lines and fill. Building things by adding, subtracting, meshing, merging, crashing, smashing, balancing, coloring and scrathing with a pencil-- This is a good thing to be able to do for a living.

02) I can kinda draw.
I have always drawn things, colored thing (usually with purple), sketched things-- superheros, naked girls, cars, band logos, faces, scribbles, doodles, and park picnic shelter carvings... and I turned this into a career? Oh Boy! Sometimes it is baffling. Plus when you can kinda draw, you can easliy entertain your kids with the magic of art.

It is really 'graphic ARTIST' ya know? 'Doing art' is way cool and a really smashing way to make a living... don't cha think?

Car Wash

Make Money- Customize Cars, Vans, Cycles, Buggies: Inside & Out! Learn How & It's FREE!!!!!

Another vintage comic book ad, this one is for the Customizing Center, Newport Beach, California. This 1/2 page ad will be familar to a lot of you comic fans from the 7os. This is from a Marvel book circa 1976. I love the headlines done in van-tastic fonts, some awesome flames, and a cool dude wielding an airbrush! Again, this ad has a lot of text that is impossible to read- all smushed and muddy (especially the bold font- point size 5, maybe- on the pink background). And that photo of the inside customization- I could never tell what the heck it was a photo of !?!?

"We show you how to do everything so easy you can't miss.... fading, fogging, flames, scallops, lace, cob-webbing and other special effects? and it's all Free!"
What's with the 'lace'- are we gonna customize Stevie Nicks party van? And I just want to know who wanted the chariot art that is pictured to the left, eh? Sparticus?

All Free.... Man, what's the catch?
I wonder if in the following year, 1977, there was so many new van customizing shops in the country that the business was overran with beginners and the cost to customize your dune buggy was dirt cheap? Was 1977 the year everyone had crappy flames on the cars? I don't remember, I was only 11 years old...

Customizing Center ad, click here to view.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose

To the spoilers- goes the victory!

This great new shirt from Threadless (love these guys) spoils all the movies with trick endings all in one t-shirt. It has actually made some people mad, eh?

Don't view the link if:

  • You don't want to know who Luke's father is?
  • You don't know what happens to Donnie Darko at the end of that one?
  • You don't what to know what makes up the main ingredient of "Soylent Green"?

Rendered in stark white and red on black, with some silouette graphics famous to movie lovers and a jumble of typefaces- this is another classic from the Threadless community and the Skinny Corp. dudes.

Spoilt by Oliver Moss- click here

Monday, May 21, 2007

Glittering Prize

From June 1980, this vintage comic book ad is sure to be familiar to comic book readers of this era. "Earn famous name Prizes or Cash" by selling cards & gifts! I was never sure what it was that you would be selling if you "enrolled" in the Olympic Sales Club-- it says "cards & gifts." And you were suggested to sell them to "Anyone's a prospect.... friends, neighbors, relatives...." Grandma, I gonna be callin'!

It always sounded suspicious to me, even as a naive 14-year old. But boy, those prizes were sure cool looking! You could tell which were the really great prizes- by how many boxes you needed to sell to get them. The range went from 'Bike Generator Light Kit (7 boxes) up to the big kahuna, the "Huffy Thunder Trail Bike" (65 freakin' boxes). I can tell you I had my eye on some of these winners:

  • Emerson 8-track player with AM-FM Radio (sell only 15 boxes)- portable, way worth it- 8-track goes into the side. Plus a radio!!
  • Centuri Electric Launch Rocket Set (sell only 10 boxes)- a steal at only 10!
  • G.E. Turbo Hair Dryer (sell only 11 boxes)- just kidding, I didn't really want this, I had a big comb in my back pocket then.
  • G.E. Cassette Recorder Player (sell only 25 boxes)- sweet prize, very steep at 25. And thats 25 boxes, I mean how many cards "or gifts" are in a box!! Man...
So for a quick review of this ad. The printing is bad as usual, the images are small and muddy. The text listing the number of boxes to sell is so small, you have to guess at some of these. All on a bright yellow background. But, boy those prizes were still desireable, no matter how crappy the illustration are!

The Olympic Prizes or cash ad- click here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bring That Beat Back

When my friend had his comic book store on Allen Street (across from the old Pink) he used to give me tons of comics all the time. I was a huge Captain America fan and he used to shovel all the nineties 'Caps' my way. He also used to offer me the good books, the Caps from the sixties and seventies, once in a while.

I started to really enjoy looking at the ads as well as the story. I remembered them from when I was a kid and I loved the 'GRIT' ads with all the cool prizes you could win, the '100 pc. Toy Soldiers' set for only $1.98 (which I ordered once), and this one for 'Dingo' boots featuring the legendary-infamous OJ Simpson.

In a new series, debuting today, I am going to feature some classic comic book ads. The design of these ads usually consist of:

  1. cramming as much info as they could in the ad at one time
  2. bad seventies and eighties color reproduction-- comic printing was weak in those days as the cheap newsprint sucked the ink in
  3. large, bold ugly HEADLINE typefaces- lots of 3D text and drop shadows
  4. really, really small body text fonts (7 pt. and under)

The first one is linked here> "The OJ Dingo" ad.

> I like OJs Superman pose in the 2nd frame.
> Apprently they used to let kids just walk into the locker room.
> Can I still send in the form and get OJ's autograph...?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I Am Superman

The age old battle! No, not "good vs. evil," I am talking about "Marvel vs. DC!"

This is some funny stuff.... based on the "Mac vs. PC" commercials. This reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad let us borrrow his super-8 camera and we made three movies. One was a comedy reel, one was an action thriller titled "Jogging To Death" (starring my neighbor Peter Rocco), and the third was a stop-animation using play-doh ala Mr. Bill-- from early Saturday Night Live. We often used action figures in our movies and play, but they were never this sarcastic.

"Sometime possibly in the next few years..."

"Sheesh....It's just everybody loves Batman."

Friday, May 11, 2007

are you trying to break my heart

Meant to blog about this immediately but the trials of life interfered.

After my car accident of last week (minor) we were subjected to a random audit by the state dept. of labor (not so bad in the end) and the hard drive crash of 07 (major but recovering).

Now, I am left with a nagging sore throat and post nasal I can't get rid of.

But two things stood out in an otherwisz disappointing week...

Helvetica- the movie. a film by Gary Huswit, who produced the Wilco movie I so thoroughly enjoyed a few years ago (I know, it always comes back to Wilco with me- and for those not yet introduced to their work a full preview of their latest release is still online here).

A really fun film, (Fonts R Fun? Yes they R!) I enjoyed the designer interviews- hearing their own words reminded me why I got involved in the business in the first place.
It should be noted that my spellcheck does not recognize the word 'helvetica'.

1. a Paper Show- scored some nice designer swag (not what you would think- pretty geeky stuff I mostly grab for inspiration) including:
-a mini book on charles and ray eames(this one is a keeper)
-a mini book of book cover photography
-another book on fonts (this piece shines)
-another photography book on 9/11
-some assorted note cards, pads and sketchbooks
-assorted samples, and collections and presentations of award winning projects

It is not just the content of the pieces, but the presentation. Of course, they not only use their top quality paper but the printing effects and processes. All I can say is, who prints this stuff? I've never seen anything printed that compares with these pieces- anywhere.

Paper shows are kind of like going to a really great food market. You walk around selecting the best ingredients and browsing cookbooks to create a stupendous meal. They even have appies and drinks.

I was happy because the last show I went to... not so much.

I am going to curl up in bed tonight- with my cold, my wilco and my books and samples to keep me inspiredhappy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby

It is a delicate balance of deadlines and life.
When does all the 'free time' show up?

Running your own business means you can work 'any 12 hours of the day you choose' (Thanks, Mr. Coles). I try and put in a solid 6-7 hours during the day, during normal business hours. But I often have to work in the evening as well for a few hours on top of that.

My daughter gets off the bus at 4:00 PM, so I usually quit then. We have dinner, one of us will take a trip to the gym, there are baths for the kids, some play time, reading of 3 books and the girls go to sleep at 7:30 or so. That is often followed by a quick read of the Buffalo Snooze, a double dog walk, maybe some mindless TV and back into the office by 8:00 PM or so. The older I get, the less I want to work past 11:00- 12:00 at night. Last night I was in here 'til 1:00 AM and I am whipped right now!

So I usually try to keep this pace going Mon-Thurs. Unless I really, really, really have to- I don't work Friday nights, Saturday or Sunday. I think the worst is having to work on a Sunday night- preparing for a Monday AM meeting or something like that. Ugh!

Then there are the distractions.... hockey playoff games, my neighbor graciously offering me a beer from his front porch & Jill and I like to actual go out once in a while, doing things that aren't about working (there is surely not enough of that last one...). Hey, you can't do nothing besides work all the time, right? I get tired of being in the office for hours on end. Now that summer is approaching, I can work in the yard with the laptop- which makes in a little more bearable.

So yes, I do get to work when I want- the benefits of running your own business. I get to stop and cut the grass in the middle of the day, walk the dogs after lunch, go into the office at 9:30 AM if I wish- though I seldom do these things.... I am my own boss, I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I have been trying to ease up on the schedule a bit, but the demands of new clients, solving design problems and paperwork sometimes gets the better of me. There always seems to not be enough 'free time.' (I don't think it really is 'free', you have to work for it, to fit it in...).

I am going to try and only work 7 hours today.

Oh yeah, by the way, Sabres in 6!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

What I like about you[tube]

It is distracting.

I mean WOW.

I don't like to poach other peoples blogs (although justjenn turned me on to a highly poachable video the other day, HI-larious) but this one moved me out of my silence.
All Things Buffalo's recent post about a buffalo tee he found on Urban Outfitters got us talking...

of course, I tried three times to explain why I thought they were more of a Michael Morgulis rip off than the Buffalo Bills and I screwed it up every time.

So, see for yourself...

in order of appearance: urban outfitter's - michael morgulis' design - the bills

oh. well, er. I guess that I was thinking of the current logo. you know where the buffalo stampedes...

I guess I've fallen for the conspiracy theory-

it was easier to believe they ripped off a local artist than the NFL.

Just shut and watch the 'sweep the leg' video on youtube.

I am too tired to post it here.

silent once more...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Get It Together

You can go onto the internet and view satellite photos from outerspace. From millions and millions of miles away, I can see my truck parked in my driveway. And it is clearly is "a large vehicle past my gate- in my driveway."

How come they can't have a camera directly above, less that 100 feet from the goal line in hockey games that provides a clear, CONCLUSIVE, view of a puck crossing a goal line?

Technology clearly underutilized!!
The NHL needs to get it together!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Rebel Without a Pause

Is Helvetica the most well known typeface in the world? (f**k Arial, you bastard knock-off!) It is used everywhere- lots and lots of signage use this crisp, readable, solid typeface. I recently had a flashback when the architect Robert T. Coles (a friend and Jill's old boss) gave me a box of souvenirs-- he is cleaning his office. Among the prizes contained in the box was a set of old Chartpack Velvet-Touch rub-on lettering and architecture icons & symbols. The first folder I looked into contained a sheet of ubiquitous Helvetica Bold- 180 pt.

And now Helvetica, which is celebrating its 50th birthday, is starring in a feature film simply titled Helvetica. This film is a documentary by Gary Hustwit.

The film is going to be shown in Buffalo, next week at the Market Arcade. This event is sponsored by The WNY Book Arts Collaborative and others.

May 9 - Wednesday 7 pm
Helvetica: A Documentary Film
Film showing w/ Director Q&A
Market Arcade Film & Arts Centre (639 Main St.)

Reception following at Hallwalls (341 Delaware Ave. at Tupper)

Gen. Admission - $8, Students - $5.
Members of: Hallwalls, WNYBAC, AIGA, Advertising Club of Buffalo - $4.

For more info on the film, check the site here.