Elton John announced to the world that, after fifty years of performing and touring, he will retire, but not before completing a climactic two-year world tour. Recognizing that albums are simply musical forms of story-telling, I thought to bring a twist to the idea of packaging and apply it to Elton’s music, rich with story. What better way to accompany a farewell tour than to re-release some of the best-loved albums that launched a life-long career as an iconic rock star? And who better to design them than me?
My personal interpretations of the albums, integrated with relevant 2018 design, inspired and informed the direction for the designs. Impactful yet sparing use of soft gradients and transparent colors placed these designs firmly into the 2018 aesthetic. Carefully-chosen script type for Elton John that evoked the ‘57 Chevy ideal paired with the swirling hem of a poodle skirt reinfoced the ‘50’s theme for Don’t Shoot Me. Metallophile’s rough-hewn edges evoked the feel of chiseled bricks in Yellow Brick Road. I created an original typeface for Honky Chateau to reflect the never-been-seen-before journey of Rocket Man—one of its most iconic tracks.
Album labels were designed within a system to unify them, and expanded images from the jacket designs created the backgrounds which served to differentiate them. All together, these labels and covers emanate a cohesive retro/modern feel.
OBJECTIVES, RESEARCH, INSPIRATION, DRAFTS
Inspired by Joseph Duffy, a little research, and my own proprietary typeface for my Elton John Honky Chateau album, I chose to create a present-day display font that expresses with its very lines the complex relationship between our emotional humanity and the mathematic and scientific principles which inhabit our minds and drive our existence.
Circles and rectangles in geometrically matched, expanded, contracted, and rotated proportions were spliced and merged to create upper and lower case letters, numerals, and punctuation. Flourish elements were applied to upper case letters to create a secondary upper case set of even greater emotional and visual impact. Three typefaces were created based on thin, regular, and heavy weights. Also designed were additional flourishes which have the ability to be added to nearly every letter in a build-it-yourself system to augment further the typefaces illustratively.
While Rocket Man is a highly-structured font, it expresses a graceful beauty. Its strength, flexibility and illustrative qualities should appeal to any typographic project that wishes to reach a highly educated and creative demographic. Guided by past and present design work of Herb Lubalin and Jay Fletcher, Rocket Man might carry us into the future in ways we yet cannot imagine.
OBJECTIVE, RESEARCH, INSPIRATION, DRAFTS
My objective was to create an identity and packaging for an original brand of artisan chocolate bars. My conceptual invention, Bumpity Bump Chocolates, was inspired by the sledding hill of my childhood, a long, steep, and thrilling run over and surrounded by jagged boulders of iron ore.
Illustrative elements of mineral-colored triangles tumble down a mountain set against a vast background of open space and create the visual setting for the piece. Three delectable flavors—almond, cherry, and cinnamon—were dubbed Snap, Zest, and Tang, and were differentiated from each other by their ivory, rust, and charcoal backgrounds. Sans serif fonts meticulously typeset in the colors of the mountain created clarity and visual interest on the front, back, and side panels.
The brand name, Bumpity Bump, was set in bold sans serif in a badge configuration that mimicked a boot-print in the snow. Carefully-written descriptive copy underscored the story of the brand. A stylized star adorned the top and side panels of the packaging identifying them from the smallest sides. The result is a playful yet sophisticated presence that commands attention through its clarity and conceptual uniqueness.
Waterbirch is the name I ascribe to the collected works of my original giclée and hand-printed designs. These prints reflect many disparate influences — my middle-school art class, children's picture books, mid-century modernism, travel, lazy summer days, crisp winter afternoons, autumn trees, plants and birds, animals and bugs— that drive and inform my sense of process,color, composition, and theme.
Although whimsical, sometimes nostalgic, and invariably explorative, these images carry themselves with an elegance and sophistication that unify them, that tell a story, yet they all existed in different times and spaces. Therein lay my challenge—to unite them in time and space and to ground them with written story.
My solution was to create a personal art book to compile and organize the images and their stories into a usable and accessible system. The published book can be used for enjoyment purposes, or it can be used as a reference catalog from which those interested might request cards or prints of their choice.
OBJECTIVE, RESEARCH, INSPIRATION, DRAFTS
Sophisticated young professionals who read intelligent, contemporary, and relevant magazines are the target audience for the ads for Candyland, a retro candy and treats store based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Conceptual, clever, and simple ads resonate best with this demographic. Nostalgic, whimsical, and slightly off-beat, my concept was simple, visually appealing, and easily digestible—pun intended—and operates on the conceptual tagline of being “wild about” Candyland’s gumdrops; so much so, that the wild Minnesota animals who consume them evolve into the color of their favorite drop.
Picasso-inspired continuous-line illustrations and loose, watercolor-esque colorations inspired by one of my favorite childhood picture-books created the illustrative focal points for the ads. Taglines Get Wild—Get Your Wild On and There’s a Little Wild in All of Us – Get Yours are the calls to action in the single and climactic full-spreads, respectively.
Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say, and the necessity to incorporate Candyland’s logo motivated me to revamp, maintaining its essential design, but updating it to a more clean, agile, and flexible image. Surprisingly, it has become one of my favorite elements of the project, along with my dear blue mouse.
OBJECTIVES, RESEARCH, INSPIRATION, DRAFTS
The purpose was to design and produce a type-dominated poster, with little to no illustration, that evokes my interests and personality. My chosen topic was the worldly popular comic book series, Tintin, about a boy detective and his sidekick Snowy, an adorable, brave, smart and funny wire haired fox terrier pup. It was my goal to portray them and their global, cultural impact in an informative, compelling, appealing, understandable, and visual way.
To introduce the protagonist and his faithful sidekick, I illustrated tiny portraits of Tintin and Snowy and tucked those within the letters of the title. Colors, mined from the books themselves, were kept to a playful yet minimal number of four, creating mood, unity, and clarity.
Type choices reinforced the tone of sophisticated playfulness. Everything from pie charts, fever charts, tables, and radial graphs to text blocks, lists, and over-sized numbers were employed to tell the story of a boy and his dog and how their adventures that spanned half a century educated, entertained, and delighted audiences world-wide. Meticulously measured and considered alignments, line-weights, character styles, and leading, along with carefully-applied type and color hierarchy function as a well-oiled machine to bring this team of fun players together in a winning way.
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The challenge was to redesign with a modern appeal packaging for four items from an existing line of packaged goods that contains multiple varieties, or flavors and appeals to a sophisticated, upscale demographic.
What better way for young urbanites to connect than over artisan ice cream made by a socially– and environmentally–conscious local business? My goal was to systematize and beautify Izzy’s ice cream packaging in a way that would match the quality and care of the ice cream that was to be found within.
Well designed whiskey bottles and craft brew identities were mined as inspiration for my new Izzy’s aesthetic. Graceful and geometric linework created both stylized graphic ice cream cones and organized spaces for the front label, edges and a tremendous amount of pragmatic and descriptive text. Flavor icons created in similar lines, along with flavor-matched background colors, identifying flavor strips, and newly-written copy provided four methods of flavor identification. The Izzy’s identity itself was modified to work better with the new typography, yet it’s iconic big dot on the I for Izzy’s was retained in outline. Izzy’s packaging is now an appealing system that embodies both sophistication and fun and is able to hold a prominent and notable place in neighborhood and in the freezer aisle.