I can’t remember how I first met Designer and Art Director Sue Murphy but it was some time ago; and every now and then I check back on her work to see what she’s up to and find her in a different country. Born in Ireland she’s since racked up a fair share of air miles studying in Savannah, working in Amsterdam and of right this moment working as an Art Director for Ogilvy and Mather in New York. To begin this series of Creative Interviews I thought who better to begin with than the freckly, funny and flighty Sue.
She was also kind enough to takes some snaps of the office in New York and comment on them. I always love seeing these sorts of places, I can’t quite explain why but I find it interesting to see the environment that great work is created in.
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.
During the weekend there was a moment where I had to sit through a monologue about how negative the advertising industry is and how cruel the people are who work within it… Much to my dismay, this is a sentiment I hear often. To me, this is common opinion of the misinformed, and in my experience, it’s wrong. Let me tell you a “little secret” about the ad biz: all we want to do is create cool shit. Wieden+Kennedy’s (W+K) project, a Real Life Agency at Work, created in collaboration with Emily Forgot and Laurie D, is a great example of aforementioned “cool shit.”
With all the hubub and hullabaloo around the release of iOS 7, it’s nice to see something from Apple that’s hard for people to wring their hands over. Titled Intention, the short video (commercial?) visualizes Apple’s beliefs in simple, beautiful ways. I find it inspiring, simple principles that we, as creatives, should strive for when we create. The highlight of the video, with a doubt, is the statement, “there are a thousand no’s for every yes.”
Let’s talk politics. No, not about what issues are important, who you should vote for or who hates Big Bird. But about the fact that whatever side you’re on, you should get out there and vote. Brooklyn-based Apartment One teamed up with Rock the Vote and Simon Issacs to design and implement a non-partisan campaign urging the budding generation to do just that.
People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.
In the creative and print industries where long term is often as short as a few months and short term is tomorrow first thing in the morning, it is remarkable that the Imagination book series produced by paper manufacturer Champion Papers was able to succeed and flourish for over two decades from 1963 to 1986. During that time, 26 issues were produced and acclaimed designers, such as Carl Regehr and James Miho, brought their talent and innovation to the pages.
Initially in the early 1960s, Champion Papers began to idle with run-of-the-mill Dunder Mifflin-like marketing where its main focus was on paper sales and order volume instead of the inventive ways paper could be used by the creative industry. But starting in 1963, Champion Papers made a game-changing decision by electing to adopt a different business approach after a survey showed it was virtually unknown to designers, art directors, and creative printers at the time. In response to the findings, Champion Papers became determined to reach out to that elusive market. This effort resulted in the production of Imagination, an annual print publication targeting the design community and showcasing the varied creative uses of paper in stunning ways.
Each Imagination book has a distinct theme beautifully executed through the use of photography and illustrations richly printed on a diverse range of paper grades using a number of different printing and finishing techniques, such as fold outs, die cuts and specialty bindings. Enlightening and educational text exploring the theme often accompanies the images. For example, the theme of Imagination 25 (shown above) is “Fun and Games,” where the text investigates the toys and recreational pastimes of numerous cultures and the value placed on play by ancient and contemporary societies as a means to learn and recreate. Other Imagination themes include a wide range of topics, such as ships, flight, and time.
Creating an issue of Imagination involved a great deal of resources and effort. A single book often took almost a full year to complete. The material used in the series was deeply researched and the design concepts carefully considered so that they would be long-lasting and classic with each issue building on the one before it. Sometimes an issue consists of just one bound book. Other times an issue comprises a set of individually packaged publications in custom carriers. Whatever the format, however, the editions of the Imagination series became long-lasting paper reference tools for creative professionals, many of whom safeguarded their copies over the years due to the unique presentation and engaging content.
photo credit: Robin Benson for his images of Imagination 2 1963 “Flight”, Imagination 8 1965 “Ships & Boats”, Imagination 24 1983 “About Time”, and Imagination 25 1985 “Fun and Games”
As I close out Dog Week 2K11, there is a lot to think about: little dogs, medium dogs, but mostly big dogs. These oversized beauties, who are easily overshadowed by the tiny shadows of small dogs, are some of the gentlest creatures on the planet. To know and befriend a large dog is one of those rare situations that a lot of people do not get to experience. I would say definitely try to get to know one, should the opportunity present itself.
A good example? Art director Nate Wells for Applied Underwriters‘ ad campaign featuring a giant Saint Bernard. The campaign, with the tagline “We’re in California in a big way.” as inspiration, not only conveys exactly what Applied Underwriters needed but is very approachable, well done, and fun (not to mention funny). When Wells sent these my way, I literally gasped. Literally.
The campaign is one of those rare moments where industry, silliness, and art all converge. I absolutely adore everything about it and am glad that Wells has inadvertently taken it upon himself to change the face of the Saint Bernard (from the damage Beethoven did to it). I hope you agree and, if you do, please follow the jump for more photos!
With that, goodbye Dog Week 2K11! See you in 2K12!
(…if the world doesn’t end.)
PS. Wells informed me that the dog featured in the photos real name is “Cujo.” HOW AMAZING IS THAT??