Monday, October 25, 2010

Advanced Typography Assignment: Part 2

Just got home from my class with a lot of food for thought (and, happily, a lot of yummy food waiting for me, because I was starving!)

In general, my "Echo Park" designs went over pretty well with the other students. But, as I expected, my type treatments were far too conservative for my teacher. He really wants us to push the limits of our creativity—and the piece's readability.

So be it!

For this week's homework, we're taking the three designs to the next level. In the spirit of the class, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and totally deconstruct them. It ain't gonna be pretty! I'll post my progress later in the week...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Advanced Typography Assignment

So, here's the latest from my Advanced Typography class. We've been working on designing a logo for a Los Angeles neighborhood, using whatever combinations of fonts & letterforms best express the area's individual character. The instructor has been really pushing us to experiment and move beyond typical, conservative designs. I suppose it's easier to reign yourself in than it is to push yourself to the limits. There have been some really interesting results from everyone in class.

For my neighborhood, I chose Echo Park, which is an historic area close to Downtown LA, near Dodger Stadium. After fooling around with many different concepts, this week we were tasked with taking our logos and incorporating them into a magazine spread of some kind. I tried three different versions, going for very different looks & feels...

This one would be in an edgy local paper like the LA Weekly or Village Voice

This one is more of a slick, glossy magazine deal. Like Dwell or similar.
This one is a big, ol' newspaper section.

These were fun. I wonder if they're too conservative for my teacher. Guess I'll find out tomorrow night & let you know what revisions I'll be doing for round two!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Pizza

For some strange reason, in the past year I've been approached by three separate and completely unrelated people, to work on Pizza-related logos. Since I've never worked on anything pizza-related before, I find this to be a bizarre coincidence. In a previous post, I showed off drawings for a TV show logo, today I present another fun design. Behold, The Pizza Daddy...

On this one, I only drew the pizza chef character. The typography is by John Roshell at Comicraft/Active Images. Pizza Daddy is a new restaurant that will be opening soon in Brooklyn, NY.

The third pizza job didn't advance past the sketches stage. It was for a restaurant in my neighborhood called The Good Pizza. A nice joint with very good food, run by some awesome guys (here's a shout-out to Nando and Carlos). They make an excellent spaghetti sauce, BTW (now serving breakfast!).

While we're on the subject, I just want to mention two places in LA to find the most delicious pizza. As a New Yorker, born & bred, I know what I'm talking about. First, if you want an upscale gastronomic EVENT, you must try Mozza on Highland. It is the pizzarific love-child of celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich. UNBELIEVABLE FOOD. This placed opened in 2007 and it's still nearly impossible to get a reservation! (Just show up early and get on the waiting list; it's fun to sit at the bar and watch them make pizza) Try the Marinated Baby Peppers with Tuna for an appetizer. Trust me.

For more of a "regular" slice that will make you think you're back east, go to Tomato Pie in Silver Lake . By my reckoning, it's the BEST slice in Los Angeles (there's one on Melrose, too, but I haven't been there). These guys are from Trenton, so I may sound like a traitor to my fellow New Yorkers. Not for nothing, but I gotta say, Trenton is much closer to New York than CPK. Try it out. It's so good you will WEEP.

Advertising Design Class

Regular readers of this blog know that I've recently been taking courses at UCLA Extension, working toward my certificate in Advanced Print & Graphic Communication.

(Regulars will also notice that I've just redesigned the look of my blog. This current iteration is just an experiment; I'm just playing around with the design. This one probably wont last very long, so don't get used to it! I would appreciate some feedback, though, if anyone cares to comment)

Anyway, one of my current UCLA courses is Advertising Design, and I thought I'd share some of my schoolwork with you.

This class has been a lot of fun. We just finished a campaign for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), as our first project. Basically, the assignment was to design a marketing strategy to attract a new, younger demographic to the museum, using a new "Street Art" exhibition as a draw.

The first couple of weeks was all research. We interviewed people from the group(s) we wanted to attract, learning their feelings about museums, art generally, and contemporary art in particular. We gathered information about their lifestyles, interests and desires.

Using the collected data, we decided on five archetypes for our demographic groups, and then created detailed "personas" to whom we would target our campaigns. After a (short) bit of in-class brainstorming, we students were given a mere week to develop a comprehensive campaign that we had to present (with a visual slideshow) at our next meeting. It was a huge amount of work, considering that this isn't our full-time job!


The whole process was fascinating. My presentation included 10 slides (later expanded to 14), that outlined the goals and challenges of the campaign, the results of my research, and then several slides detailing my marketing ideas, which included some changes to MOCA's programming and in-museum experience. Fortunately, we didn't need to address any particular budget for our campaigns, so we could propose anything we wanted.

Here a few highlights from my slideshow...

I really enjoyed putting together the presentation. Less fun for me was actually getting up in front of the class and presenting it; let's just say I'm not the greatest public speaker! One thing that helped was that I'd written a script to go along with the slideshow, that allowed me to go greater into depth about my ideas, letting the slides simply act as interesting visuals and bullet-points.

In "real life," my experience in the world of advertising is limited, but I must say that I find the whole process to be thrilling. I'm looking forward to the next project in school, and keeping an eye out for any "real world" opportunities that may present themselves.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

DC Super Heroes Pop-Up Book!

Hey, check this out! Almost a year ago I worked on this unusual project; an elaborate pop-up book featuring all the major DC Comics characters. The book is by Matt Reinhart, who is the author of several extremely cool books that have redefined the modern pop-up book. If you've seen his Star Wars book, you know what I mean. It's amazing what Matt and his studio do with folded paper. Take a peek...

I colored all the images in the book. No small feat, if I may say so. It involved coloring many versions of the same drawing, all chopped up into pieces that had to fit back together after printing and cutting. The whole process must be a printer's nightmare!

Anyway, I worked on this thing last winter, but just learned that is hit the book stores today. I haven't seen the finished product yet, and I can't wait to see how it turned out. If it's anything like the one test spread that I saw, the book will be awesome. And a wonderful holiday gift for the Super Hero enthusiast in your family!

Look for it--and If you happen to see the book; let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I think it's about time for me to redesign this blog...

...What do you think?

More Class!

Wow, I can't believe it's been nearly a month since my last post. I guess things have been busy around here since the new school year started for my son, and for me.

This semester I'm taking two courses toward the completion of my Certificate in Advanced Print & Graphic Communication: Advanced Typography and Advertising Design. So far, I am happy to report that both classes are exceptional.

My last class (Publication Design ) was kind of a mixed bag. Since I work in publishing, much of the material was familiar. In addition, this particular course was taught online, and lacked the creative interaction and collaborative energy that has been so stimulating for me since I started taking these courses. I've heard many complaints from other students about the online classes at UCLA Extension. They really need to work on making the experience more interactive. By coincidence, I am currently building an online class for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. They appear to have a much better grasp on how to replicate the classroom environment online. In some ways, my UCLA class was a valuable lesson on what not to do in that regard!

That said, the best part of Publication Design was working on the homework assignments. I enjoyed stretching my creative legs, working on the kinds of projects that don't normally cross my desk as freelance assignments. I'm really getting into the whole graphic design "thing," and would like to do more of it on the future.

In my last post, I showed off a book cover design I was working on. Since then, I received some feedback from my instructor, and I tweaked it a bit. She admonished me for stretching the type on the logo (rightly so!), and felt the gun was an unnecessary element. Below is my new version. I'm not entirely sold on it, but admit that it is easier to look at than my first attempt...

My two new courses have been very interesting, and I'm happy to be back in the physical classroom, interacting with other humans! I may have said it before, but I think I've been freelance too long! Both classes are very conceptual, and we're digging deeply into the creative processes of typography and the world of advertising. For the past two weeks in Advanced Typography, we have been playing with letter forms to give different meanings to old adages. This was a lot of fun, actually. For the first week, we had to physically cut & paste pieces of type onto paper (like making a ransom note), experimenting with shapes, sizes and space. Later, we scanned the letters and continued the process digitally, creating many versions with different meanings. Here are a couple of mine that I like...

Fun stuff. The instructor is great. He gets so excited about type that he is exactly the guy you want to teach you this class. He's really trying to push us all out of our comfort zones, encouraging us to go "out there" with our designs. I'm already learning a lot.

Tonight I have my advertising class--also great fun. We've been doing research as we build a whole campaign for an art museum. Very interesting work, I'll have to tell you all more about it later. In fact, I need to buckle down and finish my homework assignment right now, so it's time to sign off. Excuse me while I get my Donald Draper on!