Friday, October 31, 2008

Denver's Best Shows up in CA

Big Shout out to Janelle Kay (AD), Matt Ward (CD), Brian Mark (P), and Genisis for lighting the way in the current design annual for Communication Arts. As I was flipping through the work, it didn't surprise me to see this bright and beautifully designed work out of our community in the book.

Keep pushing Denver. More cannot be far behind.

Really Good Craftmanship

This is pretty amazing, just think about the lateral thinking that goes into something like this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Creative Juices

There are days I feel the press.

HSBC: Different Values Campaign

Interesting spot for HSBC Bank. It's causing some head scratching on HSBC also bought 24 ad pages in New York magazine with their different values campaign. Read about that on Slate, as well. Agency: JWT

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Be Frank With a Bottle of Wine

Pretty funny. But I'd rather see this idea applied to a gift bottle. Nothing wrong with being nice, right? Found on The Dieline.

New work from Cactus

I'm sure you've seen these around town. The word is gettin' out!

From Cactus:

The Cigarette Is Dead. That simple message is the heart-and-soul proclamation of a new social movement, born in Colorado, and in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The movement marks the demise of a fatigued and deadly icon, whose day has come and gone. Its aim is to help people who smoke quit once and for all by providing them with a personal rallying cry against their addiction, as well as easy access to tools (i.e. and 1.800.QuitNow) that have been proven to help smokers quit successfully.

At the same time, The Cigarette Is Dead movement doubles as a tobacco prevention campaign through the social norming nature of its message. Today, cigarette smoking has not only become passé due to all we’ve learned about its health effects, but, plainly speaking, it’s become a difficult behavior to keep—especially with the implementation of smoke-free policies in 29 states and 36 countries. The days when smoking was socially acceptable are over.

The hub of the campaign is, a website that we partnered with FL-2 to produce (Cactus is responsible for the concept and copy, and FL-2 is responsible for the design, development and programming of the site). We believe that this movement will only truly be as strong as those who choose to become a part of it. So we’re asking others to do their part by sharing their quitting moments and personal stories about when the cigarette was dead to them by posting written entries, photos and YouTube videos on the interactive timeline at Users can also explore the timeline to learn about important dates in the cigarette's demise, from smoke-free laws and anti-smoking commercials to social observations and personal moments. The timeline's events are categorized by when the cigarette became physically dead, personally dead, politically dead and/or socially dead. We’re also providing free posters, stencils, artwork and a variety of other The Cigarette Is Dead materials available for anyone to download at

Could VW Advertising Capitalize on This?

"... at one point yesterday VW became the most valuable company in the world, worth more even than Exxon."

That's a quote from this BBC OpEd story. I've always loved VW ads, as well as the product. This bit of news  is probably not widely enough known to make a selling point with, but there's got to be some interesting angle the ad folks could play here.

Mobile Bench

Love simple and functional design. I'd put one my garden. But I don't have a garden. Regardless, pretty cool.

Found on SwissMiss.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Love Type

Found this over at and had to share:

The 1927 edition of Studio Handbook by Samuel Welo is 233 pages of beautiful type and timeless design advice. Only this book comes with a twist – every page was hand-lettered by Welo.

Little is know of Welo, but he does have a flair for the hand drawn type. Rarely do I regret the added tool of the computer, but hand drawn type is rare if not impossible to find anymore. That is a skill the computer has killed, and we will forever be poorer for it. There is nothing like hand drawn type, done well of coarse. Head on over to the link for more. Lots more. Maybe we can just wait for the power to fail and head back to the good old days, then again, there would be a lot less to sell and I'll need to find a new skill.

Don't Vote

That's right, don't vote. That way we can keep looking at really great campaign posters. Do you duty, keep great art out there. THIS ONE IS FROM Borders Perrin Norrander, Portland, USA.

Dollar goes where no man has gone before

Nice work with money, since this may be the only way it can go far.

Alka Seltzer

These are brilliant. The art Direction is supurb, the humor is fantastic and even the logo treatment. Ah, to be in Paris and in love with a brand. CLM BBDO, Paris, France.

Old Soap Graphics

Found on this cool Polish site. Check out the other stuff there, as well. Those hands look unnatural, though.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Brief :: Concept Winners

The awards were broken into 2 parts - Best Concept and Best Design. They did not necessarily have to relate to each other.

Congrats to Team 1 for their remarkable concept (you'll have to wait to see it rolled out):
Creative Director: Steve Koloskus, Extra Strength Marketing
Karen Andrews: Metro State College of Denver
C. Sidney Clewe: Colorado State University
Jeffery Steffonich: Metro State College of Denver
Garrett Buckert: University of Wyoming

All winning students receive $140 in scholarship funds and an award.

The Brief :: Design Winners

I want to personally thank all the students, teachers, volunteers and CDs and ADs that showed up to make this one of the more exciting events I've attended in a long time.

Congratulations are in order to Team 19 for the design aspect of the competition.
The team consisted of:
Creative Director: Nicky Alden, Idaho Stu
Rebecca Wood: Metro State College of Denver
Jenn Workman: Colorado State University
Matt Starr: Metro State College of Denver

Each student wins $140 in scholarship funds and an award.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Briefies: The Debrief


In my previous posts about last night's events, maybe it seemed like I was being a little silly, a little flippant even, about how exciting it was. I mean, it was exciting. Truly. But one may interpret my previous posts as hype. That's fair perhaps, to an extent. I might've been trying to be cute or clever (and yeah, I wasn't much of either). Fine.

But I'm serious when I say WOW. The ADCD sponsored Student Briefies event was a great success. But that's not the WOW part. The fact that 72 students showed up — and 12 of those from Wyoming — was really cool. The creative energy in the packed room was tangible. The collaboration between students, and in one case, between teams, was inspiring. I could say "wow," but that's not the WOW part.

Steve Whittier was absolutely fantastic in helping to make this event much more than the sum of its parts. The plan, as stated in my last post, was for the students to put their ideas into a visual presentation. They did, but Whittier flipped the script a bit first. He wanted the idea to be the main thing. The students were already in a crunch and they had to nearly skip the research phase entirely. It would be tempting, as Whittier understood, to dive into the execution of it all and make the solution all about some neato design. But he challenged the teams to make it about the solution for the client. That made all the the difference between half-baked ideas wrapped in tidy clichés (I saw not one flourish, though!) and truly inspiring possibilities, roughly but clearly presented.

"The execution should be a given. If you can't execute the design, you shouldn't be here. Execution is easy. The great idea is hard." Whittier shared these thoughts just before the announcement of the three finalists. This was not a fancy awards show banquet, but as I stood in the back, straddling a mess of power cords on the concrete floor of the basement work room at MCA, it had the feeling of something really special. There were a few camera flashes and a palpable anticipation, as Stella Yu from Arts Street and Whittier began to introduce the finalist teams. 

Three great ideas. One rose to the top, easily, in my opinion. The whole event was awesome, really, but this was the big moment. A solution for the client that none of us expected. In three quick hours the teams had come up with ideas that surprised all of us. Even Whittier seemed a little non-plussed when he said that he hadn't thought of what he would have done.

Stella Yu then had a difficult task. Clearly she liked all of the ideas and was gushing gratitude in her final statements before announcing the chosen solution. She went with the one that answered the Brief holistically. She needed to get $750,000 in donations, to raise visibility for Arts Street, specifically, and foster community involvement and continued appreciation for the arts, generally. The winning team came up with something packed with gestalt. I'm very excited to share it with you now... But I can't. You'll have to wait. But it's good. New York City good. National press good. 

So, what's the WOW part? I guess, for me, it's the pleasure of having observed something so organically powerful as the creative process in such a test-tube kind of environment. Students getting deep into the problem and pushing through the obstacles; CDs coaching the teams to solve the problem at hand; the client, set aglow (she actually mentioned afterwards that she was glowing, not that you couldn't see it) by effort put forward by the students and by THE RESULT... All of it combining to demonstrate what can be done when we work and think together, that's the WOW part for me.

I made some new friends last night, another benefit of working together. One friend, Becky is, like me, a fan of Bruce Mau. I've often wondered what it might be like to work with such a visionary  who elevates process above product. He seems determined to stay close to the ground, where the process of working together happens, yet he seems to "change the universe," as my new friend put it. I think I got a glimpse of what that might be like last night. That's the WOW part for me.

On behalf of everybody involved last night, I would like to thank... well, everybody involved last night. Wow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Brief Is On Fire!

It's heating up as the students are now putting their concepting phase into action. They are required to make it a visual presentation to pitch the client. There are groups doing impromtu photo shoots inside and out of the building, groups surfing frantically to find the image they need from stock, and others frantically sketching. This should be good.

Steve's Confession

This is how serious this guy is: he showed up to this event on September 23rd! Of course, the folks at MCA informed him that there was no event here on that date, that it was actually October 23rd that he was early for. As Steve tells me this, he says that he keeps so busy that he rarely gets to do things like this and that he was just excited to be a part of it.

BIG UPS to Mr. Whittier.

Talking Strategy with Steve Whittier

THE MAN from Factory Labs and Stella Yu, the client, are fielding questions from the students. This is a really cool opportunity for these students (man, if you're not here you're missing out! Okay I'll lay off the guilt trip).

Anyhoo, the students are getting a real life lesson in strategy from Whittier. He and I were chatting about how when he was a student everybody was making posters of Robert Plant, and now everybody wants to make posters like Shepard Fairey. Students get a lot of pretend projects in school but he's here making it real for them.

Part of the brief is about visibility for the client, Art Street. The students could very well make posters and flyers and all kinds of rock'n'roll wanna be artifacts, but does that bring in dollars? Because Art Street also needs dollars to keep afloat. Whittier's challenge to students is to find a way to reach and convert just a few who can get excited about Art Street and write the big checks. Finding kids to get excited about the programs is easy. Getting the benefactors to notice and get involved is another thing.

Rebecca, Jennifer & Matt: Pre-Race Chat

These three agreed to be my test group for these live interviews. They were super friendly and excited to be here. So the questions (keeping in mind that these answers are loose translations; it's way too exciting in this room to write everything down verbatim ; )

ME: What's one lesson you've learned in school that is getting you prepared for the working world?
Matt says Print production. It has very practical and necessary applications.
Rebecca says that helping with this event as a liason for my school has given me some networking skills that will be as helpful as a lot of what I'm learning.

ME: What scares you the most about graduating?
Jennifer says that nothing scares her. She's ready and excited to get to work.

ME: What have you seen among your peers that has become cliche, design-wise.
Rebecca: Flourishes!! (They all chime in with agreement) Like scroll-y, curvy flourishes, it's like design vomit.
ME: Do your instructors smack down on that in crits?
Matt: yeah, when it's not done well. If you're going to do it, it has to done the right way.

To the question "what drives you," Rebecca answers "Eradicating Papayrus from the face of the earth. That and Comic Sans." Well Rebecca, nothing has changed then in the last decade, because it was the same when I was in school!

Briefies Ramps Up!

72 students from 7 schools including 12 from University of Wyoming. 10 Creative Directors. 1 exciting event.

I'm here at MCA and we're minutes from starting the ADCD Student Briefies night. This event is an excellent opportunity for students to show off their skills in a collaborative effort that simulates "the late night at the agency." ADCD President Chris Thomas calls the scene exciting, energized and something he wishes he had when he was a student.

Stay tuned for interviews with the students. (Oh yeah, and suddenly the sound system's rockin Beck — In minutes it's gonna be on like Donkey Kong! Suddenly it feels like motocross!)


That's right, get the little Art Director running around the house a head start—who are we kidding. I want this. Roaring Brook Press.

Festival of Lights, Etc.

This shot is from a recent festival in Berlin, but the article has some other really cool night-light art.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poladroid makes Polaroid Easy and Fun

It's no substitute for the real thing, perhaps, but it's a lot cheaper than all that polaroid film. And the application is in French (or some version of), so that's fun. 

My photo experiment: Original on top Poladroided photo on bottom.

Download the app here for free, play awhile, and then get back to work. It's Wednesday, you know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


You know, the economy is serious when the ads hit.

Who Says Its Too Late?

Think it is too late to do something for the November Shin-dig? Yee-Haw Press doesn't (you might remember they were out here over at Ink Lounge, oh and the great work would jog your memory too). Gotta love the boxing reference as well as the humor as well as the letterpress. I'm diggin' the art side of politics–if not the politics.

Grammar Of Ornament Flickr Set

For the traditional ornamental pattern lovers. Link.