The power of line

New York Times magazine illustration, Kit Hinrichs/Pentagram

Good & bad creative advice

I take it as a given that people offering advice want to be helpful. BUT. Haven’t you found that well-meaning advice only sometimes hits its mark? Tone is important, and there is no one-size-fits-all. Humor and reflection are key in the mentors I seek out. I notice that the discourse about design and creativity often … Continue reading

Maximalist design: sweet & opulent Victorian valentines

Victorian valentine: boy and girl

I’d call this style maximalist marzipan—almost too saccharine, but the dimensionality of the collaging and diecutting is of enduring beauty and interest. I am always touched when I see fragile ephemera in good condition. It’s poignant to peek into sentiments a century-plus old. The layering impulse is one people still have: the more lace doilies, … Continue reading

Spec work Hall of Shame: Egency’s Design Challenge

Every so often, an “opportunity” comes crawling into my inbox. Sometimes it’s an offer to collect UK lottery winnings, or facilitate money transfers to Nigeria. And sometimes, it’s an offer for me to do design or illustration work and not get paid for it. Egency, a new arm of Agfa Graphics, will offer stock marketing … Continue reading

Denver Broncos endzone pattern

Larsen and Tebow's first passing touchdown, third quarter, 42-10

I don’t follow football, but while I was at the gym I saw a recap of the Broncos-Chiefs game that showed, in the endzones of Invesco Field (aka Mile High Stadium), a retro blue and orange diamond design. Color me impressed. Not only did it look great on TV, it did two other things. One, … Continue reading

Hand-tinted silent film promo cards

Rudolph Valentino, toreador

This post is dedicated to dear friend and film buff Charlie Fisher. Long ago as a junior copywriter à la Peggy Olson, he penned a tagline for Oreo knockoffs—”the black and white cookie with the Technicolor taste.” The silent films here were shot in black and white, but their promos are certainly speaking Technicolor. Click … Continue reading

The meaning of stripes

Striped coat / body diagram

Just rainbow eye candy? Or something more? Nature has striped the zebra. Man has striped his flags and awnings, ties and shirts. For the typographer, stripes are rules; for the architect they are a means of creating optical illusions. Stripes are dazzling, sometimes hypnotic, usually happy. They are universal. They have adorned the walls of … Continue reading

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