Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You're wondering who I am...

(Secret, secret, I've got a secret)
Machine or mannequin?
(Secret, secret, I've got a secret)

I have no explanation for this post's title or intro featuring Styxx lyrics. Perhaps because the subject matter (a new set of Decagon sensors) is mechanical/technological in nature and the words to "Mr. Roboto" seemed prescient. But that still seems like a stretch.

At any rate, these three go along with the large set of sensors I illustrated for Decagon's website some months ago. I think I'm getting better at these (they take less time, I'm more satisfied with the results, and I'm enjoying the process more). It's par for the course that I now feel like I have all the resources I need to begin the project I just finished. C'est la vie.

You may have noticed the slight disparity between this post and the one directly preceding it. They're almost diametrically opposed to one another, yet I find each project to be completely fulfilling and fun in their own ways. I feel fortunate to have a projects that run the gamut in just about every respect. It keeps things interesting.


Roller Derby!

I think I may have mentioned before that I love what I do. My worst day drawing is better than my best day doing any number of jobs I had in previous lives (ditch digger, stagecoach tilter, etc.). Drawing, for a nerd like me, is really, really fun. Even amidst all that fun-having, occasionally a project will come up whose fun statistics are off the fun index. I'm talking maximum fun density. This is one of them.

A roller derby team asked me to work on their logo. Seriously. A roller derby team. That's so cool I could use an exclamation mark at the end of this sentence (but I won't).

Enough talk. More roller derby.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Historical Society Logo Concepts

Here are the concepts for the logo. I don't know if I could pick a favorite. Usually, one of the concepts stands out and I subsequently suggest that concept to the client. But this time I'll be happy regardless of which one is chosen.

One lesson I've learned over the years (I'm not a fast learner so it took a while) is: Never put forward a bad concept. I've had a couple projects where I had several decent concepts, but I wanted to have a nice number of concepts to present. For some reason, I picked the number five, as if that were a more dignified or significant number. So I'd have three or four concepts I liked and I would throw one more in there that was sort of half-baked. On one or two occasions, the half-baked concept was chosen. When that happens, it makes the project difficult to work on and makes me rue the fact that I just threw that last one in.

So now, whenever possible (sometimes the time to flesh out really strong concepts is a luxury), I present concepts I genuinely like. That kind of investment can be a liability if everything gets rejected, but in my mind it's better than presenting something I'm not proud of. I'm sorry for all the sentences here that ended in prepositions.


Historical Society Concepts

Good Morrow To You Sirs/Madams!

I was commissioned recently to work up some concepts for the Latah County Historical Society. This year is the 125th anniversary of the McConnell Mansion (built in 1886), the flagship exhibit of the organization. It's a super cool Victorian-style house built by William McConnell, a prosperous merchant and early governor of Idaho.

I was asked to re-imagine the current logo (an oil lamp) for the anniversary. I was also asked to come up with a few ideas for a banner with the same purpose. After doing some research, I learned that along with the McConnell mansion being built in 1886, The Statue of Liberty was also dedicated and coke first began being sold in stores. This was the genesis of one of the concepts. The other 2 banner concepts are relatively straightforward.

This project has been so much fun to work on. For starters, a subject with this much history behind it (in the U.S., 125 years is a long time) means the possible inclusion of any element of that history into the design scheme. The process is also an intense amount of fun, particularly if it's challenging. I start with research, think about the subject (what it means and the intent of the project), generate as many ideas as I can, narrow those down, generate more ideas, narrow those down, etc. When all is said and done, I pick the concepts I think are the most successful and meet the largest number of requirements and I turn those concepts into illustrations to show the client. If I'm lucky, one of those will be accepted.

If that sounds like a lot of work, you're right. But when the work is exciting I tend not to notice the hard work. I'll post the banner concepts first, then the logo designs.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby, I'm amazed

Several weeks ago (perhaps longer), I was asked to create a baby announcement for some friends who are expecting. I drew up some concepts and these two won out. The first is relatively straightforward. The second, in case it isn't clear, is a reference to "The Big Lebowski", of which my friends (and I) are big fans.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Rather than go to Tashi's station to pick up some power converters, I decided I would design a tattoo for a friend of mine (at his request). He's a police officer and asked me to base the design on St. Michael, the patron saint of law enforcement.

I worked up the first version and sent it off. The response was tepid. When I took a second look at the design, I saw why. He kind of looks like he has corn rows. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it doesn't exactly fit with the image one has of St. Michael. Also, it's a bit too clean. It almost looks like the logo for a mutual fund group.

The second version (shown with and without shading) was well received and could end up being the final version.

The Final Countdown!!!!!

And, ladies and gentlemen, here is the final logo. What can I say? I feel like I've watched it grow up. Like Malcom Jamal Warner from "The Cosby Show". Hopefully this logo won't end up hosting a bad Saturday morning cartoon show that only signifies the good cartoons of the morning are over and golf coming up in the programming. Sigh.

More fun than a barrel full of monkeys!

I once had a friend who lived in Japan. In her town, along with the human residents, there lived a group of monkeys, though of what particular breed I cannot say specifically. She said they were scary. They would chase her and her friends to school and throw rocks and other undesirable things. They were not to be played with. It makes me wonder where that saying about a barrel full of monkeys comes from. Imagine how angry they would be, having been cooped up in a barrel with each other. I dare you to open the lid of that barrel and have fun afterward. I dare you.

This logo, on the other hand, was fun. It happened while I was attempting to generate some new ideas for the restaurant logo and I decided to bring it to fruition, knowing full well that it would never be utilized in any professional context.

Go Go Gadget Logo!

So, as it turns out, the last set of logos wasn't quite there. I embarked on an epic (and by "epic" I mean orderly, logical and straightforward) journey (and by "journey" I mean I stayed in my studio) to find the real and true logo. Unfortunately, when my group and I found the ark with the logo in it, it was stolen by Nazis. When they opened it their faces melted.

That may not have happened. Sometimes I confuse my own life with "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Could happen to anyone, though.

Ok, fer serious though, here are the sets that followed further exploration of the themes and designs of the first sets. I guess you could call these the descendants.