- I WONDER
- THINGS TO BUY
- ABOUT ME
- SUBSCRIBE TO RSS
After doing a poster for one of my favourite bands, The National, last year, I was happy to be asked once again to do another one for them. This time they were playing in my home town of Vancouver at the Orpheum. The 3-light-condition design of the first poster was hard to beat, but I've always wanted to print on a mirrored surface, so I worked with Jake Sorensen at the silkscreen printers PrismTech Graphics to source the right material. Vancouver has become known recently as a city of glass, so this isn't as whimsical as it sounds.
This is not just "shiny," it is mirrored, it reflects everything. This is my best shot of the whole poster: that's me reflected in the bottom (this copy is signed to my friends Cindy & Rory).
I printed on it in white ink.
See how perfectly it reflects my hands and the ceiling above me?
It's a limited edition of 225. The National got 1–175, and I got 176–225.
The only difference between the first 175 and the last 50 is that 1–175 were laminated with a clear laminate to protect them, as they were sold at the concert. Mine are unlaminated because they are slightly more reflective than the laminated ones.
They sold for $50 at the show on November 28 & 29th. (Sadly, I was away and couldn't go!) I may sell some of mine in the future but not yet. It is currently impossible for me to get around to put anything in the mail. One day I hope to have a system, but until then it's not for sale.
Each year for the annual AGI Congress, members are asked to contribute to a special project. This year's theme was "Modular" and here is my submission.
Each year, for the Alliance Graphique International (AGI) congress, members are invited to contribute something to an exhibit. This year, for the Porto Congress, the theme was "Process" and we were asked to make a map of our process. So I documented each step of a project I was working on at the time, and compiled the whole thing into a step-by-step map of my process.
I’m a big fan of the band The National, so when I got a call to do a gig poster for them, I was very excited. This wasn’t to be a poster that would hang on the streets, but would be more of a commemoration of the event, for sale at one concert only: at the Wiltern in LA. I’ve never been to The Wiltern, but I’ve admired the building from the street and I knew it by name. It’s a beautiful Art Deco building, and while I didn’t want to do a Deco poster, I did want to reference the geometry somehow.
But also, I was thinking about how it would be dark in there, and maybe hard to see. Thinking about concerts, etc., I decided to make a poster that was actually 3 posters in one. By using Black, Flourescent pink and Glow-in-the-dark inks, I made a poster that would look one way in daylight (above), another way in Black Light (or ultraviolet light):
and different again in the dark:
The poster was screen-printed by Delicious Design League; great poster designers in their own right.
Chip Kidd recommended me for this project to do a poster for the Academy of American Poets to promote April as National Poetry Month. I worked with Christina LaPrease and Tree Swenson on this (interestingly I used to do typesetting for Tree, a million years ago), and they gave me several poetry quotes to choose from. I chose, “We make a dwelling in the evening air / In which being there together is enough.” from the poem “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour,” by Wallace Stevens.
Being a visual person I interpreted this as a romantic space which is both interior and exterior. But Tree knows more about poetry than I do, and in a very kind and complimentary letter to me she said, “You’ve created a most fitting visual pairing for the Stevens excerpt—giving a clear sense of of the ‘intensest rendezvous’ in the poem. The centripedal energy in the poster also gently urges one to go where ‘we collect ourselves,’ as Stevens advises.”
For me, I am happy that 200,000 of these are printed and being distributed to schools across the U.S. Promoting poetry is something I am more than happy to do.
Printed in CMYK + Gold.
I am having the first show of my work at the University Art Gallery (Dept. Art and Design) of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, from Jan 9–Feb 20, 2009.
Oddly enough, this is the first time I’ve made a poster for myself. I originally planned to make the whole thing in fun fur, but it didn’t work out so well, so I used scraps of fun fur, including making my name … which turned an elegant hand-drawn script into something that looks a lot like a tarantula. I threw in some patterning, some vector art, some pencil drawings, including a sketch for the poster itself and a little drawing of me, and the result is kindof a mix of what I’ve done in the past plus what I’m interested in in the future. It’s precise, and a little odd, and a little funny … I hope.
The show itself has over 100 pieces, including some video, 25 or so original drawings, some paintings, posters, photos, etc.
Big, big thanks to Jeff VanKleeck, who invited me to have the show, and who is working his ass off to get it ready.
I’ll also be speaking at CalPoly on Jan 16th, 2009.
Oh, yeah … details typeface is H&FJ’s Acropolis. One of my faves.
Vector, Fun-fur, pencil
This one of my favourite pieces so far.
R-Wines, from Australia, wanted a poster with the names of all of their suppliers, to give to them as a present.
I drew 30 grapes, of different varieties (who knew they were so colourful?) each hiding a letter of the alphabet. But then I had to place them … a total of approximately 2,130 grapes!
Here’s a detail:
When I was asked to speak at Pop!Tech this year, I was also asked to create a poster for the attendees. I knew that Pop!Tech is an eclectic conference and there would be many kinds of speakers presenting on different topics. So I didn’t want to include specific words that might mean something to some but nothing to others. The theme of the conference, however, was “Scarcity and Abundance” so I decided to visually work with that at a concept. The result is sortof “Mondrian goes to Tehran”.
This poster is narrow so that it could easily roll up into a small tube and fit in anyone’s suitcase.
Many people at the conference told me they really love it.
This is my latest poster for the GDC/BC. I’m not on the board any more, but occasionally I like to get a poster in. This one is for a speaker series talk on Sustainability, only they wanted it to be different from the usually “green preaching” ... so this design signals something different, allright.
I LOVE it!
AED Social Change released the second version of the “Design Ignites Change” poster. This one is in silver foil on copper paper, and it is also sold out, alas!
This poster is for the design unit within the Academy for Educational Development, a DC-based international non-profit. It says “Design Ignites Change” and is part of a series of posters that they do to promote the importance of design in development work.
This version of the poster, of which there are only 150 copies (they have 100, I have 50), has no printing, but is laser cut from white paper. (They are planning a printed version as well, which I will post when it is done.)
Aside from the fact that it is just plain bitchin’, there is a logical reason for this. One: usually you laser cut from the back, because on white paper the laser will leave a slight burn mark. Well, ignites! So I had them cut it from the front: I wanted the burn.
But also, the poster, of course changes, depending on how you view it, and what you view through it, as these images will attest. These are all the same poster, shot in different locations.
This next one is not a different paper: it’s still white, just backlit.
It also casts a beautiful light shadow.
The poster sold out 2 days after it went up, and the proceeds went to benefit AED’s Speak for the Child project, which provides assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Kenya.
Laser cut poster
Um. I was asked by Shigeo Fukuda, President of the Japan Graphic Designers Association, to submit a poster for display in conjunction with the Summit of G8 Nations in Toyako, Hokkaido, with the themes of “the Toyako Summit” and “the environment”.
Actually, my good friend, retired designer, and Canadian design legend Theo Dimson was asked, and he sent them to me.
Normally I am wary of the value of designers creating posters for things such as this, but on the other hand, I was pleased to be asked and I thought it couldn’t hurt.
The whole thing being international and all, and taking place in Japan, I decided to have no words on the poster at all, except for the required logo, at the bottom.
It’s … is it obvious? It seems obvious to me, in an interpretive kind of way. So I’m not going to explain it.
There were also fans involved, for fanning yourself during global warming (which seems like rather a good idea), and if I ever get mine, I will post pics.
This is a poster for a one-day conference on synaesthesia at Columbia. The speakers ranged from authors to scientists to architects (my client was the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation). For it, I painted a rather small painting, and then blew it up 400% to show the detail.
William Drenttel & Jessica Helfand of Winterhouse hired me to create one of a series of posters for the paper company, Stora Enso. (The other two in the first three are by Paula Scher and Christoph Neimann; beauties both.)
This is quite complex. It contains two variable repeating patterns and a whole bunch of archival photos (mostly from the Library of Congress). It’s about time, families and preserving things for generations. It is, in my humble opinion, my best work to date.
If you attended TypeCon in Seattle this year you will have received a small (11×17) version of this poster, which was printed letterpress at the School of Visual Concepts on the yummy, shiny Midnight Blue, Shine paper from Reich Papers. You may also have bought the large (20×31) version silkscreened by Design Commission on the cover weight of the same paper. If you didn’t go to TypeCon, well … you missed out on this, and a whole lot more.
This image is for the benefit of those who saw me speak at TypeCon. A little in-joke for those of you who were listening.
The Fader magazine asked me to do a diagram of Jerry Garcia’s influences, contemporaries and influenced. Now I’m no Deadhead, and I’m not responsible for the content of this, only the look, so if you’ve got complaints (as I would imagine Garcia fans would), don’t come cryin’ to me.
This is in issue #46, and you can’t mistake it, it’s got a big photo of Jerry Garcia on the cover.
The folks at The Fader liked this well enough to decide to print a 7-colour silkscreened poster of it.
I’m no longer on the Board of the GDC/BC, but I was called up in a panic-stricken request to do a poster for the Salazar Student Awards. It just so happened I had something kicking around that I wanted to see printed, so I slapped it on the poster, set some type and viola!
Debbie Millman asked me to design the poster for a four-part Live-in-Person version of her famous internet radio show “Design Matters.” On her weekly show, Debbie talks to people in and around design about topics relating to design, culture and branding. Adobe and AIGA San Francisco are sponsoring the four live interviews (one of which is with me) which will take place over the year in San Francisco.
I wanted to create a poster that had to be experienced live, in your hands, to be fully appreciated—like the 4-part series. This led me into the complicated world of translucent paper.
Instead of having the traditional “pretty side” and the “text side”, I wanted to have an interaction (or “conversation”) between the two sides. The poster was carefully designed so that text and imagery appears in reverse on the front (or back), although some areas are partly masked with white ink from one side to the other to avoid confusion and create a difference between the 2 sides.
The white ink also serves to create different effects depending on how you view it. If the poster is viewed against a dark background, the white ink is visible and there is a lot of complexity. But if it is viewed against a white background, the white ink disappears and the text becomes very clear.
In addition, the poster was designed as a self-mailer, and the layering of lines is both intriguing before it’s opened, and undergoing constant change as you open it. As I intended, the internet doesn’t do it justice.
The paper was donated by Curious Papers, and it was printed with great diligence by Steve Woods Printing in Phoenix, Arizona.
Michael Bierut at Pentagram hired me to do this titling for one of his famous Yale Architecture Lecture posters (I’m only sorry to be #41, and not in the book of the first 40). Then he and Michelle Leong did a beautiful job of the rest.
I have to say that no picture or digital file does this poster justice. I don’t know what it is, but when I got my copy in the mail, I was completely delighted with it. Maybe it’s because the lines get very, very thin, and that doesn’t come off in the digital; or maybe it’s the size … I don’t know.
This poster is in the permananet collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum (Smithsonian) in New York.
Graphex is Canada’s Biennial Design Awards, put on by the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC). As 2006 is also the GDC’s 50th Anniversary, I decided to explore a Canadian theme, in pursuit of an elusive “Canadianism” in design.
Long story. I decided to focus on nature, and the things that we all have in common in this vast country: plants and insects.
It was at the point of an 86-layer Photoshop file, and the realization that I was close-cropping a mosquito that I decided I’d got in a bit deeper than I ever intended to.
However, I’m immensely proud of it. It’s very beautiful, and it sports a swarm of blackflies spelling “Looking for the Canadian in Design,” ladybugs make the words “Call for entries,” and ants trace the deadline dates.
I made the logotype from maple leaves, which I painstakingly “nibbled” with my fingernails to make them look like they’d been chewed by the various insects that adorned the type.
Plus all-Canadian fonts.
Identity and Call for Entries
Society of Graphic Designers of Canada / BC Chapter Annual Report for 2004:
This AR has a long story, which you’ll have to get me drunk to tell you. Printed on a full press sheet, with the AR on one side, and a poster by Rick Valicenti on the other (our guest speaker at our AGM), the AR folds to show part of each side.
I chose 10 blackletter typefaces to print this report. Because I wanted to. No one ever reads these things anyway, but for the record, it was perfectly legible. It just happens to look great as well.
A work of staggering beauty. Now which side do you like better? Mine, or Rick’s? Answer carefully, now.
This was originally designed for a Speak Up poster competition … which, incredibly, I didn’t win.
The rules were to represent a quote written by someone who had posted to the site. I chose “Art and design are cousins. They should not go to bed together” as spake by DesignMaven.
But I fundamentally disagree with the statement, and I intended to render the poster in such a way as made it obvious that Art & Design always have, always should and always will go to bed together.
I love this poster, and some day … some day, I maybe just produce it.
Poster (not produced)
This was my first (and only) promotional poster for my then-new work. Never name anything "the first in a series" ...
and a detail:
This is printed in metallic silver-blue on 100# recycled matte coated sheet, and is way prettier than the web can ever represent.