I don’t think we can talk about neon (or the absence of it at least) without looking at some of Rizon Parein‘s work. In particular, his personal project Lights Off. Lights off is a surprisingly sexy what is really just tubes and wires when you remove the neon. And believe it or not, these posters are 3D digital models, not physical signs. Parein was originally contracted to make these neon signs for an Eristoff Vodka campaign called “Bring On The Night” but while working on the campaign’s 20 headlines, he fell in love with unlit signage. Parein thought turning the lights on killed the esthetics of what he was making so he decided to make a series of his own posters.
He took something something industrial, and even gaudy at times, and made it beautiful. While the pieces with the lights on are gorgeous and very technically impressive, the signs lacking illumination are the ones that draw you in. The flushed-left stacking is not something you typically see in neon signage and the models are incredibly realistic. Even with a close look, it’s hard to fathom that the don’t actually exist. Beyond just turning out the lights, Parein played with more of a matte look which is an interesting form for something you expect to glow to take on. The typography is clean, simple, readable and recognizable without being corny and the coyote is just lovely in it’s own right.
After seeing the movie Drive, Parein saw a lot of debate over the use of Mistral for the typography in the poster. Thinking Mistral was the right choice but that it “screamed” to be made Neon, Parein released a poster as fan art and it went viral. Unfortunately he never got the rights to print it, despite a heavy demand for it to be sold as merchandise.
Parein continues to do a lot of work with modeling neon since the campaign. He’s booked out for the next year and said he’s been contracted out by Nike for a job.