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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 6: Hyper Bike Company

I love when a company is created by a person who loves the product they’re building. It doesn’t always mean success, but at a minimum it’s a genuine attempt to improve things.

Hyper Bicycles was created in 1990 by BMX pro Clay Godsmid. It originally focused on building BMX racing frames and components. They have since expanded to mountain bikes.

Their typeface logo is an exercise in contrast. Something I learned a little about from Chris Do. From his ebook Typography Manual Vol. 1:

Go from light to bold, or from medium to extra bold when changing font weights. The key to great design is contrast.

– Chris Do

The “Hyper” font is chunky, thick, and bold, like the frame of a freestyle BMX bike. The “Bike Company” font thins out, but remains solid, like a pair of handlebars.

Contrast is king.

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 5: Dark Horse Wine

Dark Horse Wine was founded in 2010.

Their goal was to deliver a premium tasting wine at a reasonable price.

But have you ever been to the wine aisle? There’s a glut of brands lining the shelves. How does a wine company stand out amongst the endless rows?

This was a challenge head winemaker Beth Liston understood. As she mentioned in a 2019 interview with The Buyer:

Trying to stand out in a sea of wine, and how to differentiate yourself. What is going to make someone standing in an overcrowded wine aisle pick your bottle rather than someone else’s has to be the biggest challenge.

It’s GRAPHIC DESIGN time.

Some may same say their logo is cliche. But to me, the wine glass silhouette as the horse’s blaze is graphic design brilliance. It turned my head in the wine aisle, and I was on my way to the frozen pizza. The use of negative space takes a few seconds to click in the mind (for me any way), but when it does, the entire brand is seared into your subconscious.

That last sentence might be fluff, but either way it’s a memorable piece.

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 4: Bird Scooters

Throughout the history of graphic design, logos emblazoned with wings are a mainstay.

You have the Detroit Red Wings, Redwing Shoes, The Athlete’s Foot, Birdman’s forehead insignia

But the electric scooter company Bird, locked up the “winged” logo game for at least the next 6 months. It’s simple (only 7 lines). It’s distinct (recognizable 30 feet away). And still looks dope sweaty and beaten down.

And going back for seconds, Bird gives you three logos for one. Look close. Can you see the pair of wheels? The pair of raptor eyes? The pair of wings?

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Art Design graphic design

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 3: Papa Lopez Mexican Cantina Restroom Signage

I can’t resist hand-painted lettering. A steady hand and brush can enliven any space. Even a restroom hallway.

Papa Lopez Cantina understands this. It would’ve been cheaper, and still effective, to slap the old Men and Women restroom signage to the doors. But somebody in the Papa Lopez art department believed in better.

Look close. You can still see the paint drying.

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: Neil Gaiman’s Four Panel Comic to Steve Bissette


Neil Gaiman’s script work on Sandman is well known. But he also drew comics for fun. Inspired by Steve Bissette’s 24-hour comic day shenanigans, Neil drew a four panel comic about his shades.

From – Art of Neil Gaiman: The Story of a Writer with Handwritten Notes, Drawings, Manuscripts, and Personal Photographs

By – Hayley Campbell

Pencils – Neil Gaiman

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amreading Art Design ideas Web

Robin Rendle’s Gorgeous Essay on Newsletters

I haven’t been surprised by the internet in a while. There’s all the common rants:

Social media sucks! Social media is the life changing wonder stick!

Substack sucks! Subtsack is majestical!

The 90s was the best decade ever! No! The 60s were utopia!

And all the other back-and-forth of opinions and wild fantasies that the internet harbors.

But then Robin Rendle‘s essay fell into my inbox – twice. (H.T. Austin Kleon and Alan Jacobs) His love note to newsletters and hope of a web for all, made for a bout of I’m finishing-this-damn-essay reading.

But it’s how he unleashed his essay, that shook my internet insides:

Using a combination of oldtimey illustrations, and funny, direct copy, he kills.

But it’s the scroll-and-read format of the essay which made it as memorable as the essay itself. I felt like I was slaloming through the piece rather than reading it.

Screenshots are weak.

Experience, read, view, contemplate, or disagree with Robin’s essay in it’s entirety below:

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Art comics Commonplace Book Design Drawings Thinkers

Cartoonists and Copywork

Ivan Brunetti offers up the cartoonist’s version of copywork in his masterclass book – Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice

Homework Assignment 8 reads:

To the absolute best of your ability, create an exact replica of your favorite page. Do not trace. Any deviation from the original should be unintentional on you part; ineptitude and sloppiness are charmless when deliberate.

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, pg 60. Brunetti, Ivan

Brunetti then urges his students to pay close attention to each element of their comics page:

Pay close attention to what you are copying. Think about the artist’s decisions regarding page layout, panel compositions, design, characterization, dialogue, gesture, captions, balloons, word placement, sound effects, line, shape, texture, etc. Hopefully you will gain some appreciation of their working and thinking process… and the difficulty of creating a comics page.

Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, pg 60. Brunetti, Ivan

Brunetti practiced this version of copywork in his own career.

He took on the Nancy strip for a time. The pressure from the syndicate to copy Ernie Bushmiller‘s style precisely, further developed his cartooning technique.

I can tell exactly the time period in my work when I was doing these-the syndicate were such nitpickers about me copying Bushmiller’s style exactly that my approach to cartooning got much more precise as a result. I went from doing strips just to amuse myself, without a grand plan, to focusing on formal aspects of cartooning much more: where to place a word balloon, the composition of every panel, and the flow of panels.

In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, pg 279. Hignite, Tom

Brunetti enjoyed the project while in the learning phase, but admitted it was an unpleasant way to work:

When you’re copying someone else’s style exactly, you can theorize about it, and actually break it down into a set of rules. So they way I was working by imitating him had almost nothing to do with the way he was working…I also realized that working this way was totally unpleasant, because there are very strict parameters you have to follow, rather than discovering the rules that work. The project was fun while I was discovering all of the rules; I would notice that he would never put certain kind of marks next to one another because they’d look wrong. I became very aware of every penstroke, where he used a ruler, where it was freehand. He had an intuitive sense of what looked good, so for me it was trying to codify this into a set of rules, which made me realize the importance of the consistency of your cartooning vocabulary.

In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, pg 279. Hignite, Tom

Could Brunetti’s copywork exercise translate into other disciplines as well?

If you’re an aspiring graphic designer you could recreate your favorite logos, stroke by stroke, in illustrator?

Or if you’re a programmer, instead of cutting and pasting, you typed out lines of code, line by line, character by character?

With thought and imagination, copywork exercises can be applied to every discipline.

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson


I heard a theory once that the best superhero movies are the ones where the hero is on screen, in full costume, the least amount of time.

The idea being that it’s what’s happening behind the mask that is the most meaningful.

I wonder if this theory holds true on the comics page.

Bendis’ run on Ultimate Spiderman was filled with these un-cowled moments. Moments where Peter Parker experiences the power of being Spider-Man, but also the vulnerability of being human.

From: Ultimate Spiderman, Issue #5: Life Lessons

By: Brian Michael Bendis

Pencils: Mark Bagley

Inks: Art Thibert

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4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday (On Saturday): George Herriman’s Krazy Kat


A Krazy Kat Strip from January 22, 1926

Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration contains a number of Herriman’s original art pieces.

The Krazy Kat strip above, is “cut and stacked”. A layout method used to fit strips into different newspapers.

Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration is the best kind of book. It’s the kind of book you lose an afternoon to. You open a few pages to “have a look”, and an hour later you wonder where the time went.

From: Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration

By: Craig Yoe