This logo was selected for inclusion in Graphis Logo Design 8
Much of the design work I do tends to be seen by many as “vintage inspired”. I do frequently look to the past for inspiration, but it would be wrong to categorize all my work that way. Case in point: the logo I designed for “Sixty Second Green”. This website will have a series of tips presenting simple ideas and products that are “green” and eco-friendly. The site will propose simple yet powerful ideas on how people can save money and at the same time do good things for the environment—all within videos no longer than 60 seconds. My challenge was to create a memorable logo that would be reflective of the green/sustainability movement.
Working with Mark Pruett, owner and senior editor at Storyville Post (whom I had previously worked with some years back designing their logo) I came up with several loose ideas:
Fortunately this rough was what the client reacted most strongly to, and we were able to develop a unique logo that didn’t resort to the usual visual clichés.
So to develop this design I first had to figure out its geometry by placing my original rough drawing in Adobe Illustrator and working over it:
Then I created a new drawing using the inner mechanics derived from my Illustrator sketch. One really cannot set type around a circle without it looking somewhat awkward, so you can see that the verticals in each letterform I’m creating point directly towards the center of the circle, and are marked in the pencil drawing with angle notations:
Using the angles I had earlier jotted down on the drawing, I started building the letterforms and the logo.
Note that the letterforms in the upper portion of the logo flare outwards at the top, while those at the bottom are pinched in at the their tops. Yet they’re all consistent within the logic of the design and don’t read as different sorts of letters:
I then created a version with a bit of shading and a black background:
This iteration was used for the animated version that Storyville Post created from my art for the Sixty Second Green videos:
Many people have asked why I have only 9 fonts available for purchase. Part of the anwswer is that I’m sort of a perfectionist, and it takes me quite a long time to design, execute, and test a font to make sure it’s working properly. Also, all that work must be sandwiched in between design and lettering assignments—which must always take precedence. But there’s another reason why, at best, I can only turn out maybe one font design a year—and that is for me there’s a bit more to releasing a font than just having the font itself ready to go. There are a ton of supporting graphics that need to be created, and each font reseller has different requirements.
But more importantly, I decided early on that included with each font I would supply a full color PDF Guide or Manual (all 9 pictured above). From these multi-page PDFs one can get a very good idea of what these fonts look like in use, and gain an understanding their special features and how to access them. For example, the PowerStation Manual explains how to set layered copy in 2 or three colors, and in the Deliscript Manual you’ll find out how to access the special “t-crossbar” feature (among others). You’ll also learn some important “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for each font and (if you’re interested) read about how these fonts came to be.
Originally these manuals were only intended to be included with the font download at purchase, but I realized that they should also be available for prospective buyers as well as others—they might help with a decision, or just serve as inspiration. I’ve put links for all 9 PDF downloads together on one page, together with several case studies of some of my design work. So feel free to go the DOWNLOAD page and click on 1, 2 or all 9 of them.
My friend José Cruz recently posted this LINK on my Facebook page, reminding me about one of my earliest, favorite projects—one which set the tone for much of my work that followed. In the page that was linked the reproduction my cover was so tiny that I figured it might be time to unearth the real thing and tell its story.
I had only been freelancing for a couple of years when the Japanese magazine “Idea” contacted me, wanting to do an article about my work. I proposed doing a cover for that issue, and they agreed. Rather than designing a standard 4 color process cover, I prepared the art for 5 flat Pantone colors. Overlapping the transparent inks would create even more colors, and I hoped to achieve a richness and depth of color that approached the look of a silkscreen. It all worked out really well.
Starting with a few thumbnail pencils, I developed the look for the cover, which was based on an arcade/shooting gallery/metal target game look:
’m sure there were a couple of pencil drawings between the ones above and the next one, but it’s been many years, and things tend to disappear. This next drawing demonstrates how I used to work pre-computer. I needed to work out the drawing in the finest detail, because once I inked the linework on prepared acetate, there was no such thing as ⌘-Z: making changes was difficult. You’ll notice in the detail, the great care I used when drawing—this was extremely painstaking work (the yellowing of the vellum is mostly due to the aging of the rubber cement used to glue it to a board:
Next I worked out rough color with Prismacolor pencils on a piece of tracing paper over the tight drawing. I was tryng to approximate how transparent Pantone colors would react when laying one over the other. For example laying the blue/violet over the burgundy would get me a very dark—almost black-ish color. There were probably other color studies, but this is all I have left:
After working out the color, all that remained was to create the finished pre-separated art, inked in black with technical drawing pens (Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph). In this case the art consisted of seven inked, prepared acetate overlays, plus the base art that was inked on vellum and glued to an illustration board. Below is a representation of just one of the overlays in position over the tight tracing—where it was when it was inked—this represented the dark blue ink:
When all the inking was done, all the overlays were registered to each other (note the register marks), and the whole was prepared for the printer in Japan with detailed instructions written on a vellum overlay with a more accurate representation of what the finished piece would look like (rendered in colored pencil). Pantone color chips were taped alongside for color matching. It’s a hell of a lot easier to render art like this today using Adobe Illustrator!
Below is the actual printed cover. It remains one of my favorite pieces. It also served as the design and color model for how I executed the album cover “Rock and Roll Over” for KISS just a few months later that year: