Good Design Thursdays - Entry #29

This week I'm showcasing a few logos that I really like. The first is from this year's Oscars. This year was the 90th presentation of the award and the designer came up with a simple and awesome way to link the text. The icon of the statue also fits nicely inside the "A". Next is the logo for a James Bond comic book series from a few years back. Designed by Rain Hughes, the text overlaps and links together in a very natural way that leads your eye through the design. Last is the logo for Escape Velocity, the annual convention organized by the Museum of Science Fiction. The designer found a creative way to link the words by using the mirror image in the shapes of the "A" and "V". The varying weight of the font from heavy to thin is a subtle play on the name of the convention, since an object appears smaller as it moves farther away.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #28

I recently came across posters for two upcoming movies - A Simple Favor and King of Thieves. One is a psychological thriller, the other is a heist movie based on a famous real-life robbery. Both poster designs appear to be inspired by one of the greatest graphic designers of the 20th century - Saul Bass. He created some of the most well-known and easily recognizable movie posters and corporate logos over the course of his career, which stretched from the 1950's to the 1980's.  Even if you've never heard his name, you know and have seen his designs, many on a regular or even daily basis.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #27

Last week's entry focused on brand-name cereals, this week's entry is focused on store-brand cereals. Every grocery store has got their own generic versions of the well-known brand-name products...Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs, Captain Crunch, you name it, there's a store-brand version. These store-brands often have their own mascots, along with artwork and designs as bright and catchy as their more famous counterparts. Even though they may not be as well-known, they are just as fun to look at and appreciate the creativity of the designs.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #26

I love cereal boxes.  With their bright colors, bold designs and cool mascots, they are always fun to look at while walking down the cereal aisle of the grocery store. Cereal manufacturers also frequently partner with studios, publishers, toy companies, etc. for various promotional campaigns. In some instances the box art and mascots themselves are even adapted to the specific promotion.  General Mills did this several times over the last few year's with some of their cereals. First they reimagined their mascots as Star Wars characters, then as DC Comics superheroes and most recently took on a music theme for a Shazam promotion.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #25

Frank Cho has built a reputation over the last several decades as one of the top writers and illustrators in the world of comic books. He began with his own independently produced titles and is now sought out by many publishers to provide the cover art for their books. It is two of his most recent covers that I am spotlighting here. Over the last several months he provided variant covers for Batman #48 and Harley Quinn #47, using the same technique for both. In each instance all shading and sense of depth was accomplished via incredibly detailed and intricate line work of varying direction, weight and closeness. If you look closely, there are no areas of pure black.  The Batman cover is suitably Gothic in nature, which is appropriate for the character, yet Cho adds a sense of playfulness with the inclusion of Catwoman and her feline friends.  The Harley Quinn cover shows off her carefree personality.  Also, where the Batman cover stays strictly black and white, this one adds a dash of color to the ponytails in her trademark multi-colored hair.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #24

Teaser posters for movies are supposed to do just that, give the audience a minimal amount of information...an image, a recognizable name, or even just a title, along with a tagline line...just enough to catch the viewer attention and pique their curiosity.  Here are a few of my favorites. First, from 1982, is this gorgeous illustration by John Alvin of the spaceship peaking through the clouds. Next is Dune, by Tom Jung, from 1984. The double moons, over the desert landscape, together with the tagline hint at the epic story being told.  Last is Dances with Wolves, from 1990.  It omits the name of the film, relying instead on the star power of Kevin Costner's name and an image of buffalo stampeding through the mist and fog, with a tagline that gives a glimpse into his character's journey.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #23

The concept of the Triptych in art has been around for centuries, but it only found its way into the world of movie posters a few decades ago. Since then it has been used quite a few times.  The idea is simple - one image split into three equal sections, each one telling a part of a larger story. Here are a few of my favorites.  First, from 1997, the Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions, illustrated by Drew Struzan.  Everything radiates out from the center, with each section focusing on specific characters with their own highlight  color. Next is Cars 2 from 2011.  This installment takes the characters around the world and each section highlights the different international settings from the film.  After that is Tron Legacy, also from 2011. The main center image is reminiscent of the poster for the first film, with both of Jeff Bridges characters on each side.  The last two are Alice in Wonderland from 2010 and Oz, the Great and Powerful from 2013.  Both of these triptychs demonstrate a different way to  be able to feature all of the characters, without squeezing them all onto one poster.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #22

Last week was San Diego Comic-Con and in addition to all of the news, celebrity appearances and merchandise, the studios and publishers also flood the convention with promotional freebies to generate interest in their upcoming releases. One of the most common items given out to attendees are promotional posters of varying sizes. Here are a few that I feel stand out from the pack this year. First is a poster for the sequel to the recent Godzilla movie. Like something out of Dante's Inferno, we are given just a glimpse of several of the monsters as they clash in the smoke and haze. Epic is the first word that comes to mind when I look at this. Next is a painting by Bill Sienkiewicz for the upcoming chapter in the Halloween movie saga. The specks of red splashed in front of Michael Myers is a nice subtle touch to an otherwise simple, yet frightening image. Next is a nice promo image for the Bumblebee solo movie this Christmas. A simple color scheme with an almost hand-drawn look to it, it's impossible to not look into his eyes. Last is a promo poster for the sequel to Fantastic Beasts. Slightly more conventional, in that it uses photos of the actors, I really like the overall Art Deco design and layout.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #21

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Apollo 11, more specifically the Eagle lunar module, landing on the Moon.  In honor of this landmark event of human history, let's look at some nice one-sheets from movies that took us to the Moon.  First is one of the one-sheet's from The Right Stuff, from 1984, which told the story of America's spaceflight program. The astronauts in their spacesuits, with a red, white and blue color scheme behind them is all that is needed.  Next is a one-sheet for the movie First Man, coming out this summer, it's a retelling the Apollo 11 mission from the point of view of Neil Armstrong.  I really like the mostly monochromatic design, with the only color coming from the engines after the rocket has disappeared into the clouds.  I've also included here a few one-sheets I really like from movies where the Moon plays an internal part of the story.  The first one is 2001: A Space Odyssey and while it is not the first movie to travel to the moon it is definitely the most famous.  Robert McCall's illustration of a spacecraft leaving a space station high above earth, with the moon in the distance is one of the most recognizable posters. Next is a one-sheet from the 2009 movie Moon.  The optical illusion created by the circles plays up the psychological drama of the story.  I also like the artistic, non-traditional style of the credits at the bottom. Last is the teaser one-sheet from Transformers: Dark of the Moon.  Love or hate the movie, this is a great poster.  The lunar landscape inside the Decepticon logo, with the stars shooting out around it makes for a super cool image.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #20

Classic movie theater marquees and neon signs are always fun to look at and when viewed from the right perspective can be even more impressive.  In 1994, the Lion King received premiere engagements at Radio City Music Hall in New York and the El Capitan in Los Angeles.  Special one-sheets were produced for both engagements and the designs prominently utilized each marquee.  Byzantium and Enter the Void are both more recent releases and use a similar design approach with the title of each film a marquee sign.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #19

In honor of the 4th of July, I'm posting this week's entry a day early. This week we are celebrating the day our country declared its independence. This year the 4th also falls on a Wednesday, which is the day new comic books are released each week.  Marvel Comics is taking advantage of this timely coincidence to release the first issue of a new Captain America comic book.  In the world of comic books, there is nothing more patriotic than Captain America.  As is the trend nowadays, there are a multitude of variant covers, each by a different artist, for this first issue. Before we get to the new covers, let's look at the covers for the two most important comics from the past to feature Cap. First is the cover  to the comic that introduced him to the world. First published in 1941, with art by Jack Kirby, Captain America Comics #1 features the iconic image of Cap punching Hitler. The second cover is from the comic that re-introduced Cap to the comics world in 1963, Avengers #4, also with art by Jack Kirby.  For the new series launching this week, there are over twenty different covers and I've selected a few that I feel stand out from the pack.  First is one by Adam Hughes, featuring Cap in a dynamic pose with his shield in one hand and the American flag swirling around him in the other. Next we have a very minimalist approach by David Mack featuring Cap standing at attention beside the reflecting pool in Washington D.C..  The next cover, by Frank Miller, takes the iconic image of Cap with the American flag and adds an American Bald Eagle. I also like the negative space created by the stars around the bottom half of the image.  Lastly, we have the cover by Alex Ross, who takes his setting back to World War II.  Here we have a larger than life Cap, leading the troops to victory.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #18

The World's fair began in the mid-19th century as a way to showcase the latest advances in technology and give the public a glimpse into what the world may look like for future generations. The location of the fair has moved each year to a different host city and has now been held in cities all over the world. Each fair has had its own poster to promote the event and the artistic style and imagery has evolved to be representative of the era and location of the fair.  My favorite time period for World's Fair posters spans the early to mid-20th century and I've selected four of my favorites to showcase here.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #17

Not only is Coca-Cola one of the most enduring products, but its logo is just as enduring, having changed very little over the course of its 130-plus year history.  Over that time it has become ingrained in American pop culture and art. The logo is such a popular design element, it can be found in kitchens and homes, as well as bars and restaurants.  The first mascot Coke introduced into its advertising was the "Sprite Boy", a nickname given to him due to his elf-like features. Advertising and posters featuring him began appearing in 1941. Santa Claus has been another popular salesman for the brand over the years. In the 1930's, American painter N.C. Wyeth was commissioned to produce several paintings to be used in conjunction with Coke's 50th anniversary. Today the distinctive bottle and logo can be found in art produced in every style and medium.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #16

The illusion of movement can be a powerful element in any design. It can add an extra level of emotion, making an image more dynamic and, in the end, it simply feels natural. We live in a world where everything moves, so when we look at a static image that includes the appearance of something moving, our brain fills in the blanks and completes the act.  I've selected three one-sheets that are all outstanding examples of using the illusion of movement in their designs. The advance one-sheet for Batman Returns, from 1992, has snow blowing across Batman's logo. This also ties into the movie as the story takes place during the winter season. The one-sheet for Seabiscuit, from 2003, has the title character galloping towards us at full speed, dirt flying in the air as he races around a track. The advance one-sheet for Fast Five, from 2011, shows the two main characters whipping by at top speed, moving so fast they are almost a blur. In the background we get a glimpse of the tropical setting of the story.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #15

This week I'm going to throw the spotlight on a particular artist - Bob Peak, who is one of the most influential artist's of the twentieth century. He began his career in print advertising, though over the course of his forty year career his work spanned all aspects of commercial illustration. He is most well-known for his movie posters and has even been referred to as "the father of the modern movie poster." Covering nearly every genre, he has created some of the most well-known posters, for many of the most well-known movies from the 1960’s to the 80’s. Included here are a variety of pieces he has done for print advertising, unused concept art, movie posters and magazine covers.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #14

Summer doesn't officially arrive for a few more weeks, but tomorrow is June  1st and that means summer to me. Let's look at a some awesome poster designs from a few summer themed movies. First up is the poster for the movie that scared everyone out of the water. Illustrated by Roger Kastel, the one-sheet for Jaws, from 1975, boils down the story to one simple, effective and terrifying image.  At the other end of the summertime spectrum is the one-sheet for American Graffiti, from 1973. Illustrated by Mort Drucker, it features caricatures of the actors centered between memorable moments from the film. The title has been done in the style of a neon sign from a drive-in diner. At first glance the image appears crowded and busy, but the three sets of musical notes are subtle cues that draw your eyes around the image in a clockwise direction, allowing you to take in each part of the image. The white space and blue border also nicely contain the image and keeps your gaze from wandering off the poster.  Last up is the one-sheet for The Endless Summer II, from 1994.  A documentary that follows two surfers as they follow the sun and surf around the world, searching for the perfect wave. With a color scheme limited to the warmest end of the spectrum, you can almost feel the heat from the sun in the image.  A great design that captures the spirit and tone of the film in a single, simple image.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #13

In the immortal words of Ricky-Bobby, “I like to go fast!” This weekend are two of the biggest events in automobile racing - the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix - so let’s take a look at some really nice racing posters from the past and present. First up are two posters from the Indy 500, one from 1909 and one from 2017. Next is the poster from the 1965 Monaco Grand Prix. After that we have the official poster from the 2012 Baltimore Grand Prix, by Randy Owens. Last is the poster for this year's Melbourne Grand Prix, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz, which I included simply because it's awesome and I'm a fan of Bill's work. All of these posters do a fantastic job of conveying speed and movement to create a mood of excitement, which is the point, since no one wants to see a slow car race.  The Monaco, Baltimore and Melbourne posters also include local landmarks and views of the cities that add a personalized flair to each.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #12

The Preakness is this weekend. Let's celebrate horse racing's Triple Crown by looking at some of the logo's that have been used for each of the races and associated events. First we have this design from the Kentucky Derby. I really like the stylized horse together with the steeples from the roof of the grandstand at Churchill Downs. It also includes a rose inside a horseshoe, which is a recurring element in nearly every Derby logo. Next we have two logo's from the Preakness. I like how both create an illusion of movement, but in completely different ways. It's also nice that every logo for the Preakness utilizes the colors from the Maryland state flag. After the Preakness comes a design from the Belmont Stakes. Another nice design that gives the impression the horses are coming right at you, it also includes the New York skyline underneath. There are also longstanding traditions associated with each race, namely, flowers and ladies wearing big hats. Roses are associated with the Derby, Black-Eyed Susans with the Preakness and both races have special events in addition to the races. Both of these designs utilize stylized hats with large flowing brims and the flower associated with that race. The last design I included is for the Infield Festival at the Preakness, which is basically one giant party in the middle of the track, featuring live music, food and beverages. This is a nice dynamic design, featuring a stylized racetrack surrounding the text and image elements.

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Good Design Thursdays - Entry #11

his week let's look at something everyone sees on a regular basis, but not many people actually give much thought to - wine labels. For a designer, walking into a liquor store can be like walking into an art gallery. Wine labels offer some of the most diverse and original designs, as they each try to set themselves apart from everyone else. Many now go beyond the traditional, and almost standard, script font and explore a variety of design choices. Some still lean more towards typography, but instead go in bold and abstract directions. Some use illustrations and paintings, whether it's original art or copies of famous works. Some use a combination of typography and art. Labels are also working with well-known contemporary artists, R Wines in Australia commissioned artist James Jean to create a series a labels for one of their wines. His final design was this fantasy-inspired triptych. Many designs don’t stop at just the label, as the packaging created to hold multiple bottles can be just as intricate and interesting as the bottles themselves.
 

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