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BLUMAKA Sustainable Footwear Identity

It’s always incredible to be able to be a part of a revolutionary project in any way. That’s one reason I was thrilled to provide the identity for the exciting new sustainable footwear brand, BLUMAKA. BLUMAKA allows brands to utilize up to 85% recycled or organic content in outsoles, midsoles, or insoles. It means a faster, cheaper, better, cleaner, greener end-product for footwear brands.

BLUMAKA was started by an old colleague, Stuart Jenkins, former Chief of Innovation at Deckers Brand and Joe Skaja, a footwear innovation legend with experience dating back to the original launch of the Nike Air Sole and Chantal Herry, ex Eastman Kodak manufacturing guru. I was so pleased to work with them and to be able to be a small part of the BLUMAKA story.

The identity features custom typography and is designed to work well on a variety of surfaces, including extruded foam soles and insoles.

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"Heathers" Movie Poster Featured at Sundance Talent Lounge

I was chuffed to have my poster for dark comedy classic film, “Heathers” selected for inclusion in this year’s Sundance Film Festival talent lounge. It’s always gratifying when someone finds your work unprompted and wants to showcase it. Thank you so much to the great folks at Civic agency for working with me on this!

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“SNKRSLKTR” App Brand / UI Design

Is there anything like a fresh pair of kicks? Forget the power tie… Nothing completes a fly outfit like a pair of the right sneakers, just tight and right.

The “sneakerhead” culture rose in the hazy glory of the 1980s, born of Basketball, songs like the Run DMC classic, “My Adidas” and the legendary Air Jordan brand. Its become a worldwide phenomenon encompassing tens of millions in sales and trade commerce. “SNKRSLKTR” (SNEAKER SELECTOR) is aimed at that target, giving sneakerheads a place to gather, strut, admire, sell and trade.

The brand itself offers an approachable, iconic take on the phenomenon, establishing a relatable visual language for the project. Our colors derive from the pop and simplicity of the original sneakers of the 1980s that birthed the movement while our custom glyphs underscore the sense of fun inherent in the mark. The app interface attempts to strike the balance between something high in utility and rich and layered in visual feel with a strong nod to the concept of the “quantified self.”

“Pop” is the focus in the kicks game and that’s our watchword here as well. Fun!

Shown Here: Mark, Wordmark, Colors, Glyphs, App Screens

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“MIDMODERNISM” App Brand / UI Design

I am a huge devotee of the Mid-Century Modern movement. It was a time when design thinking was king, spurring optimism and creativity across the world. New and progressive approaches were everywhere and perhaps at no other time more than that period, did we strive for that perfect balance of utility and artistic form.

Our house is almost entirely vintage MCM (we have a little 70’s and 80s thrown in for good measure) and every piece we have acquired inspires us every day. Speaking from experience, the process of “doing” a house MCM is BIG fun. AND… It all starts with inspiration. That’s the impetus behind this app: “MIDMODERNISM.” These designs show how that focus comes to life in a way that attempts to strike that same balance that the movement attempted to :: utility made beautiful.

The brand itself draws from the clean, modern geometry of the style, using type, placement and form to create the staccato conversation of pattern so prevalent at that time. Our colors and our custom glyphs here are inspired by the period as well, driving home elegance, richness and whimsey in turns. The system itself leverages simplicity to achieve solid user interaction and seamless flow. In all, a fun and inspiring project inspired by an amazing time in design.

Shown Here: Mark, Pattern Sample + Colors + Glyphs + Inspiration Photos, App Screens

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“The Warriors” Poster Series

“Waaarrriiiorsss, come out to play-ee-aaayyy!”

“The Warriors” has fascinated me since I saw it as a young teen in the years shortly after its release. The 1979 NYC gangland classic defined the sub genre of films dedicated to “chronicling” the noble, lawless urban decay at the center of cities like New York as the decade gave way to the 1980s. I loved all of it. Imaginative, iconic, indie and imminently quotable, the film continues to find new audiences.

I am playing tribute to the film with a series of 6 posters portraying 6 iconic “sets” from the film :: The Warriors, The Baseball Furies, The Lizzies, The Punks, The Hi-Hats and The Rogues.

In the immortal words of Cyrus… “Can you DIG IT?”

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PRINTS FOR SALE AT :: http://society6.com/davidedwardjohnson/prints

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“What if They Were ‘FACTORY?'” Album Cover Series

Peter Saville was the Creative Director / Graphic Designer at the legendary Factory Records from its founding in 1978. His work for bands on the label like Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (among so many others) coupled with his post-Factory work for a full range of acts including Roxy Music, Ultravox, Duran Duran, King Crimson, Wham! and Peter Gabriel was nothing short of seminal. Just gorgeous, highly influential work that helped inform and shape so many of us in the field “of a certain age.” You can see a solid sampling of Mr. Saville’s work here :: http://www.hardformat.org/designers/peter-saville-designer/ — AND — http://www.petersaville.info/sleeves/

In tribute to Mr. Saville’s work and in the spirit of Mr. Saville’s sense of exploration, I have taken 25 classic albums and redesigned their album covers in answer to the question “WHAT IF THEY WERE ‘FACTORY?'” It is always VERY fruitful to explore a master’s work from the inside out like this. The awesome thing at this point in my career is that projects like this become a strong fusion of my own sensibilities and the master I am “conversing” with through the project.

One other note is that all of the photography in these designs is my own. I love to take photos and it was a ton of fun to purpose-shoot with these covers in mind.

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“80s Teen Movies” Poster Series

Yep, I was a teen in the 1980s — Irondequoit High School, Class of 1989, baby. LOL! I know… I’m old.

The 80s were such a unique time in our American culture and an awesome time to be young simply because so much of our pop life was focused on being a teen. In tribute to the iconic films, actors and directors of the 1980s and in loving memory of that time, I offer this poster series: “80s TEEN MOVIES.”

As cheesy as it may sound, creating these brought back so many memories. My daughter just entered her teen years and I hope she has as much fun as I did. She’s already way cooler than I ever was and a much nicer person to boot, so she has an awesome start.

THANKS and PARTY ON, DUDES!

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PRINTS FOR SALE AT :: http://society6.com/davidedwardjohnson/prints

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Bocek Bros. Brand and Product Launch

You have to love working for clients that really feel your creative work on their bottom line. Clients that see the impact of your ideas and designs very directly. That’s the case in spades with Bocek Bros., a charcuterie start-up here in Missouri that I recently branded. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always had a deep love for great charcuterie and let me tell you, the product Bocek Bros. is selling is great. Smoky, authentic and artisanal, this stuff is the real deal.

I was involved in all aspects of this one, from naming, to positioning to brand design and packaging (even copywriting and tagline development in the mix for me here as well). Self-performing isn’t something I do everyday with my role as VP / Creative Director; most of the time I’m trying to give the best creative opportunities to my team. I don’t say that solely altruistically, it’s just a great way to keep them motivated and engaged as an integral part of the agency. HOWEVER, this one was too much in my sweet spot on a variety of levels to pass up. LOL!

The goal was to create something that was hip and irreverent, but that retained a high-end “Napa Valley” artisanal sense to it. From the tagline and copy attitude to the mark and wordmark themselves to the site and packaging designs, I think that balance was conveyed.

Shown Here: Identity and Tagline, Brand Colors, Packaging Designs (with Detail), Photography Style (THANKS to Vince on my team for shooting), and Site

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“The Roots of Horror Rock” Poster Series

Simply put, I LOVE horror and I am a HUGE lover of music of all kinds. This work is part of a series I have created paying homage to the bands that fused horror imagery and themes with rock and roll to kick start the sub-genre that we call HORROR ROCK. These are the bands that started it all; the foundational pillars that so many after them have built on. Here’s to the chills and thrills that each of these bands have brought us over the years!

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PRINTS FOR SALE AT :: http://society6.com/davidedwardjohnson/prints

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STLCC Campaign Approaches

I do a lot of conceptual work. These two campaign approaches for St. Louis Community College were really intelligent and engaging examples of how a basic brand can really come alive at the campaign level.

The first concept, written by a comrade at the agency, illustrates the intelligent “real talk”  reasons to explore STLCC as a higher ed option. The campaign really finds a strong sense of “life” and “pop” graphically. A contemporary layered approach and bold typography give this a style that sets it apart in very meaningful ways in the sea of sameness that is higher ed marketing. I self-performed all design on these.

I concepted, wrote and designed the second concept here. Built to deliver on the central idea of “There’s a Place for You Here,” the campaign shows that STLCC students are three-dimensional individuals with varied interests and passions. The core concept here is that it’s really not about co-opting the crest of some ivy-league to represent your personal brand, it’s about creating your own personal brand (represented by the individualized “passion-crests” here) and about how STLCC is one part of that. Overall, a visually engaging personal message of empowerment and validation.

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2-Tone Conceptual Rebrand

Rebranding 2-Tone? Even conceptually, you’re just asking for trouble…

Now wait. Before all of you “rude boys” and girls start screaming “SACRILEGE” and try to string me up by your skinny tie… Please, just hear me out.

Allow me first to say that I am a SUPER fan of all things 2-Tone. The music, the politics, the style, all of it. And allow me to ALSO say that the work of designers John “Teflon” Simms and David Storey on the original seminal brand and style of the 2-Tone label and its artists was hugely influential on me as a visual creative. It all carried a sense of punch, impact and humor that I still strive to bring to my work today. I was but a lad when the label was in full swing, but I had my years in suits and pork pie hats skanking in smoky clubs. I still regard it all as a brief high-water mark on popular culture.

It is only on these grounds that I offer this flight of fancy — a rebrand of the classic label. I’ve given a new mark and new style pieces to the brand here. I attempted to capture some of the basic essence of the spirit of 2-Tone, but have given it more of a pulled back sense of cool. This was a really wonderful opportunity to pay homage in my own way to the brand.

Annnnd, for the purists… YES… I do know that Dekker only recorded for Stiff Records in the 2-Tone era. I’m just playing here.

Shown Here: Identity, Promotional Style Elements and Detail

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The Goddard School Rebrand

In this business, we all have projects that are as rewarding as they are challenging. This rebrand for peerless early childhood educational leader The Goddard School falls directly into that category.

At once contemporary, approachable, bold and authentic, this new approach to the brand breathes a very fresh wind into the sails of the 25+-year-old franchise education provider. I was a creative lead on the project, filling the roles of Creative Director, Lead Designer, On-Set Director, Producer, Motionographer and (in some cases) Copywriter. Operating on a tight timeline, we executed a full rebrand plus campaign-driven materials to better tell the Goddard story. I was very blessed to work with a very talented crew internally at UPBrand that brought the signature style established here to a variety of additional projects not pictured here, a totally first-class DP and shooting crew, a really great editor / video team and a savvy and very hip client on this as well and I wanted to give props.

When the brand was rolled-out to both internal and franchisee stakeholders at an annual event in Florida, I am gratified to say that the work actually inspired some tears from those closest to the brand. A rarity, but always fun to see.

Shown Here: Sample Television Advertising, Brand Identity Elements, Responsive Site Design, Collateral, Print Advertising

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Wilburn’s Glen Brand Package

These brand launch materials for boutique natural spring water bottling start-up, Wilburn’s Glen, convey the natural sense of authenticity inherent in the Llano, Texas brand. Based around design principles expressed the Deco, Moderne and WPA architectural jewels studded throughout the Texas Hill Country region, the brand style has a classic modern strength with a hip twist. I created custom typography for the name “GLEN,” giving an ownable center to the identity. Geometric angled lines update and leverage forward classic deco graphic design thematics and symmetry while creating subtle “W”elements throughout the designs. Fun and elegant with a touch of whimsey, this was a joy to work on.

Shown Here: Brand Identity Elements, Packaging and Advertising Samples

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Propper Tactical Brand Launch

I’m pleased to share the final result of the Propper Tactical brand launch. In an earlier post, I shared a colorful and engaging exploratory concept for this assignment. In contrast, the selected approach shown here is rich, textural and “engineered” with a clear lifestyle focus. It was paramount with this brand launch to do something genuinely different; something real for a real, savvy consumer target audience. The iconography and brand elements here speak to the concept of a “tactical system” with integrated imagery and clarity of purpose. Sleek, tactile textures bring touch and a decided sense of quality to the piece while the white graphic bar overlays underscore the central concept of the rank of “officer.” This is a bold, smart brand for well-engineered gear for today’s intelligent tactical law enforcement professionals.

Again, I was the hands-on designer for all of this, a co-concept lead and wrote the line descriptors (“Be Cool.,” Blend.,” “Perform.,” and “Move.”) for the brand.

Shown Here: Teaser Videos, Brand Identity Elements, Hangtags, Sample Advertising, Site Design

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Halloween Event Poster

This one is just something fun and beautiful. Created for a Halloween event at UPBrand, this rich, layered poster was just too evocative and pretty not to share. A highly nuanced blend of vibrant color, historic illustrations, found elements and a bit of Photoshop light and magic come together here with a decided sense of drama. Happy Halloween 2012, all!

Shown Here: Event Poster

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Propper Tactical Brand Concept

Sometimes I showcase here the concepts that aren’t selected. I believe strongly in presenting only options to clients that are both artful and viable. However, of everything presented, only one can make it. This concept for military and tactical icon Propper International is a great example of something that was not selected, but that retains a strength and beauty that makes it worth sharing.

Let me just say, I love these guys. This assignment was a hell of a lot of fun to create and trust me when I tell you that though I really did love the work featured in this post, the concept they selected (and I have since executed) was the right choice and is VERY compelling. Frankly, I can’t wait to show you that work. We’re all very excited for the official launch.

This concept brings a heavy infusion of lifestyle to a powerful new tactical line of gear Propper is bringing to market. Colorful, iconoclastic and real, the work treats the target audience here with both the intelligence and consumer savvy so often absent in this sector. I was the hands-on designer for all of this, a co-concept lead and wrote the line descriptors (“Be Cool.,” Blend.,” “Perform.,” and “Move.”) for the brand.

Shown Here: Sample Advertising, Brand Identity Elements and Site Design

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UPBrand “Feel the Swagger” Poster Series

Built to showcase the three main areas of expertise at UPBrand Collaborative — Strategy, Service and Design — this poster series injects some swagger and retro funk into the agency brand. I used personal custom-created illustration and type for the main text elements on each poster to give both a contemporary urban flair to the series as well as an artful sense of touch. I was also responsible for all concept and copywriting on these. Fun!

Shown Here: Poster Series

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Paric Corporation Rebrand

It’s VERY gratifying when a client simply does it right. Not only when they engage creatively with a progressive solution in mind, but also when they build out the solution across touchpoints from the macro to the micro. Regional construction leader Paric did exactly that. I was grateful to act as Creative Director and design lead throughout the process, designing both identity materials as well as a full signature style for the brand.

A revisioned Paric wordmark was at the heart of a new visual approach for the brand. The conceptual center of the design for the wordmark is within the “A.” The interplay of positive and negative space creates a dual image of both the cupola of a building, capturing what Paric builds every day and also a red pencil, representing the pre-construction process, a planning cycle that Paric is a recognized industry leader in.

Coupled with the revisioned wordmark is an iconic new logo. The new mark takes the building / pencil shape from the wordmark and builds on it, further driving the concept home. The mark leverages design touches from the international Art Deco period to echo a rich history of building; a nod to a time of fascination with and belief in the power of construction worldwide.

These core elements form the basis for a wide range of materials.

I also personally wrote the new tagline: “EXPERIENCE. EXCELLENCE.” The periods within the tag allow it to be read two distinct ways. Both “experience” and “excellence” are elements essential to a great build process and the periods allow us to call those qualities out in a specific way. The tagline does also read as a directive for clients to “experience excellence.”

I also acted as Director and Creative Director on video pieces for the new brand. I had the VERY distinct pleasure of working with Brant Hadfield as DP on the project, Susan McMichael who crafted the overarching story arc and Kyle Dufendach as editor. I LOVE framing up architecture in-lens and this was wonderful to shoot. The resulting style is progressive and elegant in turns. The motion graphics elements within the piece are also the result of design and motion direction on my part with Kyle using his great skills and knowledge to give it nuance and touch. I am showing a slice of the long format video here with the motion graphics logo build.

Shown Here: Mark, Brand Colors, Site Sign, Advertising Sample, Hard Hat, Truck Concept, Safety Logo, Business Card (Front and Back) and Selected Video Samples

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“The Runner’s Manifesto” Poster

For the uninitiated, I have engaged a running coach. The past couple of years have been a wonderful period of rediscovery with running for me. I’ve been running a variety of types of races and putting one foot in front of the other with as much grace and elegance as I can muster has been a big part of every week. Jason Fitzgerald, a Silver Spring, MD gent, is my savvy coach and one heck of a talented runner. A recent piece that he penned entitled “The Runners’s Manifesto: 18 Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Running and Life” offered some truly awesome advice and inspired me to give the piece some design love. The attached poster was the result. A bit of a labor of love for me, please share it with your runner friends.

Please visit Jason’s blog to download a version of the poster, for awesome info and cool inspiration: StrengthRunning.com

Shown Here: Poster with Detail

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“Word Play” — 2012 Design Project / Post 02

The second installment of “Word Play.” We go to Pusha T and Jay Z for the quotes in this update, more true masters of the rhyme game. The turn of phrase is incredible here and really inspired a textural, dimensional design take on my part.

Shown Here: Post 02

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“Showdown” Movie Poster

This poster for independent filmmaker Brant Hadfield’s surreal war opus “Showdown” is a feast of texture and style. The interplay of illustration, photography, color overlays, type and texture creates a rich, heady effect that underscores the grit of war, the intensity of the performances and the film and the surreal quality of the story here. The client loves the piece.

Shown Here: Full Poster + Texture Detail

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“Word Play” — 2012 Design Project / Post 01

With the (formal) end of my first film poster project, I’ve been lining up my project for 2012. It’s important for me to have something like this, a larger story and a client-free art / design project. Exploration of this sort is the lifeblood of any successful creative.

With one project for 2012, I will be engaging in “WORD PLAY.” I will be taking the best lines from our urban poets, the masters of rhyme from the rap game and exploring typographic posters built on experimental type design and the interplay of the language itself. On the heels of bold, red posters from last year’s design project, I am restricting myself to a muted, neutral color palette.  I will be posting posters as I am able.

Shown Here: Post 01

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The Salvagery Brand Package

Portland, OR improv jazz trio The Salvagery’s July 2011 release “Triage” is a triumph of experimental work. At once contemporary and exuberant, “Triage” builds on the heritage of great albums in the improv tradition. The work is pure fun.

These designs built around the album build on that iconoclastic spirit and birthright. The look and feel here balances personal, custom-created typography and illustrations with rich color to create a bold approach that captures the essence of vintage 40’s -60’s  jazz album covers from great labels like Columbia and Blue Note. I loved working on this one!

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