Austin Film Society Teen Summer Filmmakers Program

I had a TON of fun creating this illustration to anchor AFS’ Teen Summer Program. Pop, attitude and style to spare. Applied here to apparel.

“Annabelle Lee” Sarah Jarosz Music Video

This was a labor of love that I created both inspired by and in tribute to the amazing work of three amazing artists ::

First off, the bone-gleamingly pure Sarah Jarosz who adapted a macabre classic into this bit of musical perfection. The second is the man behind that definitive poem, the peerless master Edgar Allan Poe. The third is less well-known (and it’s a crime). Lotte Reininger was a filmmaker and animator from the early 20th century, who’s seminal works include the oldest surviving full-length animated feature film, “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” from 1926. That’s 12 years before Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” was released!

PLEASE view this in full HD either below or at this (preferred) Vimeo link. It’s meant to be viewed that way.

Words and Music — ©2011 Sarah Jarosz and Sugar Hill Records
Inspired By — “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe
Video Concept, Illustration and Animation — ©2016 David Edward Johnson


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STL Symphony Save Powell Hall Campaign

The Boston Symphony tweets: “Ha. Ha. Amazing. :-)”

The Riverfront Times says: “Save Powell Hall: Concert Marketing Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This”

From STLToday: “SLSO begs public: Save Powell Hall!”

An LA arts and music blog crows: “…By far, the best orchestral marketing and advertising effort I’ve seen lately — probably ever — is St. Louis Symphony’s “Save Powell Hall” campaign.”

STLMag.com states: If we don’t take action now, Powell Hall is going to explode.

And… The St. Louis Business Journal, too.

I love creating disruptive marketing solutions. I feel it’s been a hallmark of my career. This very recent campaign for the St. Louis Symphony was a wonderfully fun example of that.

I acted as the concept, design and copywriting lead for the campaign, creating the initial idea, flowing it out to a signature style for the campaign, penning copy throughout and creative directing any other moving parts with the Symphony’s internal team and contract specialists. The campaign featured postering, an engaging website that acted as a hub for the campaign, outdoor applications (both for billboards and metro transit stops) and a “viral-style” video shot by Brant Hadfield with SFX and production by Terry Coolidge.

All of the coverage for the campaign was gratifying to see, but the fact that sales were up was the real “reward,” here. In all, a fun and engaging solution for a gem of the nation’s arts landscape.

Shown Here: Campaign Video, Mark Design, Sample Poster & Wheatpasting, Website, Sample Outdoor Applications and Poster Concept

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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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Blood Moon Records Identity System and Digital Design

This ID system for an indie label, complete with digital assets, was pure fun. I loved bringing the juxtaposition of elements here, from the clean mark and type to the vintage etching style to the clearly edgy attitude.

Shown Here :: Identity, Colors, Illustration Style, Apparel Designs, Responsive Web Designs

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UPBrand Hawaiian Holiday Poster Series

Just something that was pure fun, these large-format pieces were created for a 60’s-jet-set themed winter event that UPBrand was hosting. The goal here was simply to capture the spirit and style of the era’s travel advertising with a touch of the warmth and flavor of the island experience itself. Aloha ke akua! 

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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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“A Century of Horror Classics” Apparel Series

The 19th century gave us some of the most indelible images and stories of the horror genre. The monsters and men set forth in the books of that era continue to haunt us today and form the basis for our modern scene.

As I have mentioned here, I’m a total horror fiend. I thought I would share a concept that I have created to pay homage to the great horror masterworks of the 19th century. I designed and illustrated shirts representing 7 incredibly seminal works from that era. Here a list of the works in chrono order ::

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> “Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus” :: Mary Shelley (1818)
> “Melmoth the Wanderer” :: Charles Maturin (1820)
> “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” :: Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
> “The Picture of Dorian Gray” :: Oscar Wilde (1890)
> “The Great God Pan” :: Arthur Machen (1894)
> “Dracula” :: Bram Stoker (1897)
> “The Turn of the Screw” :: Henry James (1898)

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Annnd… Here are the designs in an order I thought presented well for the folio ::

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LER Brand Concept

Laclede Energy Resources is a subsidiary of the Laclede Group focused on buying and selling natural gas from and to a wide range of industrial and consumer customers. These style frames were built to communicate the unique position LER holds in the marketplace and their commitment to their client base. Bold, strong, and progressive with a strong sense of movement, these designs give a fresh, compelling and honest face to the organization.

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UPBrand Shirt

The great thing about extending the brand for a creative branding agency is the freedom. With agency branding, breaking the rules in unexpected ways is expected. At an agency, being off brand is essential to the brand.

That’s where this shirt comes from. Bold, avant-garde, progressive and hip this one says a lot about where UPBrand is headed as a brand and the fun one can have with just one color.

Shown Here: Front and Back Shirt Designs

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Precision Foods / Chick-Fil-A Promotional Materials

Dry blending and packaged foods specialists Precision Foods and beloved chicken franchise Chick-Fil-A both have a reputation for unmatched quality. Really, a perfect match. This awareness in-store campaign promotes one of Chick-Fil-A’s best-kept-secrets: hot cocoa. It’s not on the menu, but thousands of customers already know about this delicious drink option on cold days. Here are two concepts for the campaign.

The first concept takes a rich tantalizing approach; juxtaposing bold, contemporary “chocolate” typography with dramatic photography and cheeky attitude. The second is an illustrative, immersive take leveraging texture, humor, color and a classic typographic layout to rich effect. The campaign contained in-store signage, tray liners and drive through window clings.

I also functioned as concept lead and copywriter on these as well.

Shown Here: In-Store Signage

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Parkway Schools Rebrand

Founded in 1954 and now serving over 17,000 students, the award-winning Parkway School District has long had a reputation for excellence, innovation and advanced thinking. However, Parkway was ready for a new face to the world to coincide with an exciting new strategic direction for the district.

The excitement of a “new day for Parkway” catalyzed my work and provided inspiration throughout the process as I developed everything from a progressive new visual brand platform with a new identity and brand standards to new print and video applications to tell the story of the galvanizing change redefining this educational leader. Overall, the approach is fun, clean, classic and friendly.

The mark itself carries a double meaning through a hidden image. At first glance, the strength of a sunrise image provides a clear link to the concept of a new day. With a longer look, the image of a open book, with pages actively spread reveals itself.

For video, I personally created the motion graphics aspects of this including the logo sting and type and graphic animations. I acted as director on shoots for both video and still photography for all district rebrand materials and also directed the edit of video elements. Editor Christina Geisen acted as the video editor here and I had a ton of fun working with her on this. Brant Hadfield and John Fedele did an amazing job of shooting video and still photography respectively and I really enjoyed working with them as well.

As the father of a daughter in the Parkway district, I was thrilled for the opportunity to create such an exciting new face for a brand I care so much about personally.

Shown here: Brandumentary Video, Mark / Wordmark with Color Choices for Individual Schools, Brand Standards Book (In Spreads) and Strategic Plan Book (In Spreads)

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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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UPBrand Promotional Poster

Who doesn’t love The Muppets? And, if you don’t…I’m not sure if you can be trusted. They’re at the center of both the concept and the design of this promotional poster for UPBrand. Created as a piece to reach out to prospects we’re courting from a business prospecting standpoint, the poster brings a metaphorical smile to the concept of working together. Fun.

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Connexio Media Presentation Materials

Connexio Media offers college and university campuses a new way to reach students, faculty and visitors with information and alerts. Each campus gets its own network of state-of-the-art outdoor digital displays to connect the campus community with vital information — providing both safety and better engagement.

On this project, the client came up UPBrand with a logo and nothing more. As part of our storytelling approach, we took Connexio through a full discovery process, giving them a complete brand platform to work from. These presentation materials came out of that.

Bold, engaging, dimensional and textured, the visual “signature style” I developed was devised to convey a strong sense of movement and inter-connectivity. Coupled with a system of iconography, the overall approach balanced clarity with excitement and engagement. This rich style was a natural fit for a motion graphics piece and the animation I created leverages the dimensional overlays and shapes to interesting effect.

Shown here: sample presentation screens, iconography samples and motion graphics company overview

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Ad Week STL Poster + Mark

These initial designs for a fledgling concept here in St. Louis are pure fun. Speaking as a creative, I will say that we can be a pretty annoying and self-absorbed bunch. So often, groups and events designed to build  a sense of community can devolve into pettiness. That’s where AD WEEK STL comes from — a desire to stop the complaining and infighting and to move forward, building something vibrant in the St. Louis creative community.

I led the theme concepting on this as well as the brand development itself. A senior writer at 4ORCE landed on the title of an Aerosmith song as the perfect way to convey our central idea — “Shut Up and Dance.” The supporting mark and poster materials leverage the edge of the creative mind while cutting through the lethargy and ennui that plague the scene. Fun.

I will be flowing this out to more materials and digital assets. Shown here: Poster + Detail and Mark.

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Save-A-Lot Licensee Campaign Concepts

Targeted at potential store owners, this campaign is about making a difference for the future. Current Save-A-Lot store owners express a marked pride in the business they are building to pass down the generations within their own families and a pride in the good they are doing in the economically challenged communities they serve. These designs are a call-to-arms, inspiring through real owner profiles, imagery and stories providing a window into what store ownership can mean for a licensee’s family and for the communities they work in. The design itself is a more progressive and elegant take on the main SAL brand, leveraging basic brand elements, but amping up both elegance and touch.

Shown here: Collateral Cover + Inside Spreads, Site Design and Trade Show Application

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4ORCE Feature Wall + Interior Design

This project has been not only a labor of love, but also pure, unadulterated fun for me. I have acted as the interior designer / installation artist / signage artist for NGAGE / 4ORCE. I worked with agency owner Dan Curran and architectural firm SPACE on the main layout and it was Dan’s vision to move beyond creating just another loft space in St. Louis. That vision was the basis for my work.

The main signature feature of the space is a large sculpture wall in the lobby that is entirely my concept and design. The wall uses light, texture and materials to create a truly dramatic effect with a bold, almost overwhelming presence. Though visitors comment on the space as a whole, the wall is the most talked about portion of the entire space design.

The rest of the space uses a mix of bold and muted color blocks over a base of bright white to establish an almost museum or lab-like quality. The artistic accents in the space are a mix of architectural salvage and poster art including one large 9-piece authentic Soviet piece from my personal collection that acts as a major accent in the main conference room. I personally selected a vast majority of the art and I placed all of the artistic features in the space based on lines of sight and the space as a whole. The overall effect is very much an homage to the interiors of the German Bauhaus school with a splash of the sensibilities of American Pop artists of the 1960’s.

The signage for the space uses both oversized lightboxes with 3-D lettering for impact and door applications with extensions of the 4ORCE brand on them. They round out the space with a clean, usable visual language with a wink and a chuckle.

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Brainfül Wordmark + Mark + Shirt

With a speakers series featuring luminaries like the head of the FBIs cybercrime division for Missouri and Dr. Elaine Mardis of Washington University’s Genome Center, internal training initiatives and great workshops, BRAINFüL is a compelling way that 4ORCE keeps its employees informed and inspired.

This logotype, created to echo the main 4ORCE wordmark, was built with all custom letterforms. The result is progressive and futuristic with a slight retro appeal.

The mark itself is both eye-catching and whimsical and speaks to the other 4ORCE iconography I developed for the brand. The juxtaposition of imagery within the mark brings a smile.

The shirt design is bold and clean, everything a truly memorable t-shirt should be. Pure fun.

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Principia College Athletic Hall of Fame Interior Design Concepts

Designed to convey a sense of history while serving as an inspirational “call to arms” for current Principia College athletes, this installation was a bold and textured tribute to the “gold and blue” of Principia. lauded poet painter of the Midwest Frederick Oakes Sylvester gave the colors of gold and blue to the college to stand for “purity” and “courage.” It is in the spirit of these qualities that I created these designs.

Full-bleed custom wallpaper featuring Principia athletes from the past treated in the school’s colors serves as the anchor for the installation. Stainless steel doors were added throughout the space with custom door pulls styled to reflect a new athletic mark I designed for the college. three-dimensional panels, display cases and glass walls completed the design.

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Hardee’s “French Me” Campaign Package

How do you connect with guys 18-27? Well, there are a few ways. Namely, hot girls, huge burgers and live events. with the Hardee’s “French Me” campaign, we gave guys all three.

To promote the launch of the new featured “French Dip Thickburger” (the lovechild of a Thickburger and a french dip sandwich), we put 4 hot maids on the road on Segways at the hottest events of the summer, on local media and heavily in the digital social media space. Guys loved it. Period.

I led the full brand / design effort here. My site design drove the look and feel for the whole campaign. I also took this to social media skins and created the video  style and motion graphics portions. I creative directed the photoshoots for the campaign, collateral, promotional items including a vehicle wrap and signage, a full social media video initiative and the mark for the campaign.

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Hanes “Dave’s Detours” Campaign Package

Hanes needed to reach males 18-34. But the brand assets they had weren’t going to work. Outtakes from Michael Jordan ads? I don’t think so. To the target they were looking at for this campaign, Kobe Bryant was an old player. They needed something brand new.

We sent an average guy (Dave — a real estate agent from Illinois) on the road to challenge celebrities to feats of smarts, strength and skill to show that anyone can be comfy in their Hanes Comforsofts in any situation.

The results were overwhelming. Dave arm wrestled rapper 50-Cent for watches, Challenged Paris Hilton to a pose-off, jumped rope with Cuba Gooding Jr. and got in Tom Brady’s face to name a few. The campaign lived on Dave’s site, in social media and on affinity sites like ESPN and Comedy Central.

I was a design and creative direction lead for the full campaign. I have shown two selected elements here.

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David McCullough at Principia College Event Package

David McCullough: best-selling author of historical hits including “1776”. “John Adams” and “Truman.” Recipient of numerous honors and awards including 2 Pulitzer Prizes, The National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. ONE heck of a nice guy.

I led a branding effort for this celebrated author’s events at Principia College. The campaign bridged the gap between the subject matter of our nation’s early history and a contemporary college audience through bold, unexpected imagery and a wink. I took the campaign to NPR advertising, a full banner inititative throughout campus, a postering campaign on and off campus and into the digital space as well.

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Wampyr Band Identity System and Digital Design

Rock and roll should feel dangerous and what could feel more that way than a blend of horror and metal? Bands like The Misfits, Alice Cooper, Bauhaus, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and others have lived at that intersection, marking their careers with a unique, spooky quality. That’s what this ID system is designed to do. It leverages a custom blackletter approach to the mark and wordmark into an entire system that feels somehow both modern and at home in a mouldering castle with coffins in the crypt. I created all of this personally and had a great time doing so.

Shown Here :: Mark, Wordmark, Colors, Apparel, Responsive Web Designs

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