Designing Woman

This is my latest design for Memphis Urban League Young Professionals. The flyer is for their upcoming Spooktacular costume benefit, and looks nothing like what I first envisioned for this project. I took on the assignment on Friday, and it had to be completed by Sunday, so I had to ruthlessly abandon some of the concepts I had in mind if they weren’t working as well as I hoped or would take longer than the time allotted.

I sketched out a few ideas Friday night and found a couple of photos to get me started. Don’t hold your breath for those sketches.  I’ll save myself the embarrassment.

In the beginning, I wanted to do a play on the Dirty Martini cover above using legs in witch stockings. I found the pair below, but with all that exposed thigh (yeah, I know I could crop it out, and did so), the image felt too sexy for a civic organization fundraiser.

Later Friday night I was told the colors for the party were orange, fuschia, green and turquoise, so I had my palette, and most of the decor would be skeletons. Good thing that I’d already started playing with the idea of using x-rays or bones in some capacity. One of the first bony images I swiped was this:

With the help of the pen tool and the Glowing Outlines filter in Photoshop,  that turned into this:

On Saturday, I felt kind of meh about the whole x-ray/bones thing until I found this:

Still a bit on the sexy side, I cropped out the rest of this x-rayed pin-ups body from the mid-thigh up, added a turquoise neon glow and a martini glass, and ended up with these:

As you can see, there’s a lot wrong with the placement of the legs. It’s really evident in the last two. It could’ve worked if one leg had been lower than the other, or higher, in the case of the original. This was one of the ideas I’m going to have to revisit at some point. Maybe for an after hours med school mixer.

On Sunday, I scrapped everything. Sure the other ideas were fun, bony and ghoulish, but nothing said “costume party”. In an effort to try something new, stumbled across this dude:

Edited out his scythe:

Then put a drink in his hand:

My effort to make him more festive kinda failed:

Still, I liked the result I got from cutting out and painting the harlequin mask, and the lip and stem of the martini glass were transparent so I knew I could put it against any background and it would render correctly. Instead of going with a character, I took those two elements which clearly conveyed cocktails and costumes, and put them together (altering the perspective on the mask of course).

After that decision was made, everything else fell into place. Kind of. The logos took a ton of time, and I hadn’t anticipated that. I had to cut some of them out, hunt for others online, size them all, then figure out how to place them evenly (the alignment tool is my new best friend). Oh and that last stripe on the page changed from a 70% gray (taken from the ‘THE’ at the top of the page) to white since some of the logos were better suited for it:

The other thing that took a ton of time was figuring out how to work around shapes that went outside the bounding box on the art board in Illustrator. The angles in the orange and black stripes were achieved by rotating the black stripe and fooling around with the arrangement. All three stripes went out beyond the art board, so saving as a JPG inside Illustrator was a no-go. In order to constrain the final JPG to the art board, I had to save the file as a PDF, then open the PDF in Photoshop and save it as a JPG from there. I didn’t figure that out until after I tried to cover what was outside the lines with white rectangles and trying to place a frame around the art board that never quite lined up no matter how much I dialed down the nudge value.

At the end of the day, I’m pleased with the way it turned out, and from what I can tell the client is, too. I also designed some tickets for the event, but I’ll hold off on posting them since I haven’t added a watermark yet. Besides, those are a post of their own.

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Confession Wednesday


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Monster Mash #2: That Blue Sucka

Once again, back is the incredible. OK, maybe not so incredible. I’m working it out. Here’s monster practice project #2, a dude I call That Blue Sucka. I worked on the winged ghost monster, but I need more practice with Bezier curves before I debut it. A lot more.

In the mean time, I’ll stick with twerking stroke size, playing with the pathfinder tool and element arrangements. To make your own blue sucka, follow along with the tutorial at Spoon Graphics.

Working on your own fun practice projects? Know of one I should try (bonus points if I get to use my Intuos4)? Leave it in the comments.

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Monster Mash #1: Little Orange Dude

 

These days, I’m getting plenty of practice in Adobe Illustrator, and the kid’s graphics tablet is finally getting a much needed work out. In honor of my favorite holiday, Hallo of the Ween, here’s the first of a series of practice monsters created by yours truly using follow-along lessons from Spoon Graphics. My little orange dude might not be as awesome as the little orange dude at Spoon, but I’m getting there.

More monsters to come.

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Confession Wednesday

 

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Secret Semiotics

Not long ago, I took a class on logo design and the instructor talked about how important the use of symbols were in good logo design. One of the logos we looked at was that of the ubiquitous Federal Express. People all over the world know the FedEx logo and I don’t think there’s one place you can go in Memphis without seeing it at least once, OK, maybe a Nike store or something, but the thing is everywhere. I didn’t even know there was any symbolism to the design (the colors, maybe)  until he pointed out the white space between the ‘e’ and the ‘x’. Did you see it? There’s an arrow hiding out there! Call me slow if you want, but I never, ever spotted it until this class.

I’m sure there’s plenty of hidden symbols, words and messages that we see everyday, yet never pay attention to. And they’re usually encapsulated in interesting logo designs like the 55 über creative examples compiled at Graphicdesignblog.org.

25 Logos with Hidden Messages–Amazing Graphic Designing Tricks!

30 More Hidden Logos to Treat Your Eyes–The Sequel!

Now I'm just showing off. It is amazing though, isn't it?

Know of any other logos or artwork with a secret to hide or an interesting design? I’m all ears in the comments below. Or all eyes. You know what I mean.

Letita

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Just this…

Minnie, LaToya & Michael at an industry white party.

From her posthumous 1980 release Love Lives Forever, it’s Minnie Riperton & Michael Jackson with “I’m In Love Again”.

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