I keep forgetting I have this blog. Then I remembered I had it when I had to renew my domain for 2014. I also tend to remember it whenever people ask me where they can see my work — which should be a regular jolt to the head, but then I forget again until the topic comes up for another time.
It doesn’t mean that there’s no new work (THERE’S ALWAYS WORK!); it only means that even when we finish projects, not all of them are being launched yet. Sometimes I won’t even write about it because I also get on board with projects where I collaborate with other designers and we barely see my foot print in it.
While there’s a lull in posts for the last half of the year, I’m very pleased to show this project. YES! Another gig poster! I get the brief, wait for the details, then I crank this out in a day. This time it’s for a tie up between Attraction! Reaction! and A-HA! Learning Center. Attraction! Reaction! is the only gig I regularly attend and it’s a wonderful place to be with my friends and listen to music we like. A-HA! is my friend Jaton’s free tutorial center for children (pegged after 826 Valencia) — we used to run an online magazine together (it's still live, if you want to see it).
Jaton got together with Kathy and Anj from A!R! to raise funds for public schools affected by Yolanda, and then I got pulled in to do the poster. Can I just say that it’s been my secret dream to do an A!R! poster? Apart from being a fan of the production, a lot of their previous posters were done by a lot of designers I admire. I always thought I wasn’t cool enough, haha. But look, dreams come true!
Gig posters are pure love. Just like with the Explosions in the Sky poster, my directions were to do anything I want. Because I get to experiment, I cannot predict how the work will turn out and I often get surprised with the styles I end up using.
I usually manifest design styles that I’m currently drawn to. For this poster, I’ve been wanting to try that 3D-but not-3D look. It kind of just took off from there and I busied myself with adding elements to fill up the blank spaces. I can never be a minimalist so I think I made it up by being minimalist with my color selection. Black and white was my platform and I thought of including one more color to make everything pop.
I like retro things and I didn’t want to do the conventional black and white partners (red, orange, yellow)… so I used PINK. I hate the color pink (we’ve discussed this with my Eames chair, yeah?) but I was drawn to the imagery of flamingos, Pepto Bismol, pink Cadillacs, and Caladryl lotion (Is this still being manufactured? It’s a random visual but Caladryl is a talisman of my youth).
I think the pink added a feel good factor (helping people should always leave you feeling good) and I peppered the thing with some of my favorite Dingbats for some playful urgency. I capped it off with one of my favorite fonts DIN Next Pro then accented it with the retro Idlewild. This is still a gig poster so I wanted it to stay fun but with a slight hint of somberness to it.
Hope you guys make it out!
Poster design by yours truly.
I’ve been begging for projects where I can just let go and have fun without having to worry so much about sell-ability. I think it was one rowdy night drinking when our friend Joff from Kindassault (the production responsible for bringing in amazing indie acts from all over the world to Manila) offered to give Joel and me tickets to Explosions in the Sky if I do the poster design.
I think we agreed three weeks ago. I finished all my work in one afternoon but I attribute it to the fact that I spent all my time conceptualizing in my head. Because Joff gave me the freedom to do anything, I decided that I wanted to try out something with photography (I bought a new camera a few months ago) and Photoshop.
The thing with projects like this is that there is so much room for possibility and I could go easy on myself if I mess things up.
At 11:30 am yesterday (11:30 am because I woke up really late and so my only option was to shoot with afternoon sun), I went to the park behind my apartment to gather dried leaves.
Hi, Mr. Turtle! This was the first time I went on my hands and knees to gather materials for a project. A park attendant tapped me on the shoulder and asked what I was doing. I could only feebly reply that I wasn’t yanking actual living plants but just foraging for its dead siblings on the ground.
That only took around 10 minutes and I went back to my building to have lunch. I started shooting at 1:30 pm, and these were my layouts: (I’m an amateur, ok!)
My first layout was all about trying to mimic a firework explosion using leaves. I didn’t want to go literal with interpreting Explosions in the Sky. I wanted to utilize symbolism and mood. I wasn’t too pleased with this. It looked too much like a wreath and I wasn’t able to get little leaves to mimic the sparks that radiate out of the firework rings. If you look closely, you’ll also get a glimpse of the zipper case I used to contain my leaves.
I preferred the random look better. They I saw it, it reminded me of how leaves look like when they have fallen to the ground. Explosions in the Sky is very ambient and you will always be picturing immense skyscapes and landscapes when you listen to their music. I wanted to summon the feeling of leaves that have been shaken out of their branches.
Then I opened up Lightroom to bring out the colors from my picture. You see the colors of each leaf pop out more and my felt background looked more alive and less like an LTO ID picture backdrop.
I had both Illustrator and Photoshop open. I rely on Illustrator to figure out my type work (I just wanted a simple, narrow font for the title) then I did the bulk on my editing on Photoshop. I desaturated my background some and proceeded to manipulate the layering of the leaves. I did that but doing a lot of cutting and spraying on shadows.
At 4 pm, I was finished! I didn’t have any other deadline so I was able to just focus on this poster. I enjoyed layering the leaves so much that I think I was in a little zen space for that whole duration. I was in the zone, folks! I don’t remember the last time I was flowing like that.
I love projects like this. Thank you Joff for trusting me. :)
I’m watching them for the second time tonight! Allow me to share their album covers. I think it’s always an awesome coincidence when bands I like have great design. FUTURA LOVE! It’s a branding dream.
Aren’t they cute? I really can’t wait to dance my socks off.
We’ve been having awful weather and flooding since yesterday. Keep safe, everyone.
I’ve been putting this post on hold because I haven’t been able to get my hands on the actual finished product — and I’ve tried!
I figured that a purdy photo shoot will have to wait and I should go ahead and write about the process before I completely forget about how I designed it.
The client is Merry Moo Ice Cream. The name might be familiar to people who frequent the weekend markets. I never ventured out to try it until I got them as a client (remember my lactose intolerance?) and the hype did not disappoint.
I was tasked with the challenged of revamping the packaging and updating the look of the kiosks. They were about to open their first mall stalls in SM Mall of Asia and Glorietta 4 and wanted to unveil a new look by then.
We met with the owner Kelvin Ngo and got to know his brand. He started Merry Moo out of his kitchen when he got back from sampling unique ice cream flavors in Singapore. He’s tied up with a dairy farm in Laguna and his ingredients are fresh from the source. Kelvin is also very playful with his flavor concoctions (think: Milo, Earl Grey tea, etc.) and this has characterized his brand personality.
So I ran with the whole playful feel while retaining the Merry Moo cow (upon Kelvin’s request since it’s already a recognizable icon of the business).
For my first study, I stuck with the original Merry Moo color palette but updated their blue and green to striking shades of turquoise and lime. To set off the turquoise and lime, I made the background color black. I’m big on design being clean and readable so I updated the logo into Verlag and the secondary text with Trend. I then made Merry Moo the star and stuck her right in the middle.
For the packaging, I had the lid sticker feature a curved space for Kelvin to write the ice cream flavor on. When you designate a space for writing, it looks more deliberate and not so haphazard. I also developed a side sticker so that customers can see something on the side when it’s stored in the freezer. I figured that we can put the story of Merry Moo on it set against a “Merry Moo Land” backdrop. (I didn’t go all out yet with Merry Moo Land, and had this option been approved I was already thinking of sketching ice cream trees and ingredients with faces)
Then I showed the labels on mockups. In an ideal world, I’d have access to a reasonably priced ice cream pint supplier who uses all white paper cups and lids. It looks so clean, neh?
For study number 2 (actually, any study number 2 I do), I took my experimenting to the deep end. I pulled away from the original Merry Moo color palette and came up with my own. I tried to think of playful colors that haven’t been overdone yet and I came up with this orange and powder blue combination.
I la-la-loved this! I also made use of cartoony fonts for the logo and then a nice, friendly script for the tagline. This made it look fun and inviting. For the side label, I took my inspiration from the “Hello, my name is” sticker tags that we’re forced to wear in team buildings events. I hate team building (what, they’re cheesy!) but I do like the sticker tags.
Then! Instead of writing down the ice cream flavors, my sister and I nicked an idea from Better Than Ice Cream and proposed creating a set of color-coordinated mini stickers that you can put on the lid. Which will result in this:
Sadly, Kelvin found my studies too out there. He wanted me to stick to the original Merry Moo palette and we experimented with side labels that featured a check list.
We eventually scrapped that idea because it wasn’t practical for introducing new flavors. Kelvin also found my designs “too clean” and asked for us to explore something more childlike — maybe use illustrations that aren’t so stiff.
I got so used to creating structured designs that I balked at the idea of having things more free-flowing.
I came up with a study that eventually became the winning one. I tossed my usual rules out the window and just allowed myself to play. I used kiddie handwriting and did typography play with the Merry Moo story. The idea was to make “clean doodles.”
After sending that one in, I was told to put more color into it! And illustrations! (I eventually had to curve the label since it had to fit on a semi-conical pint)
Here’s a close-up of the work:
I have never done a project like this! The “clean doodles” were actually really fun to do. They also really tied in well with Merry Moo’s personality.
I even had to draw. I don’t usually draw, but for some reason my “sophisticated preschooler” style fit right in with the crazy text play.
When I was done, I had the side label mocked up in two different sizes because we didn’t know how big we wanted it. For the lid label, Kelvin decided to use his old Merry Moo font but I suggested we make the text space more deliberate.
This is me holding up the actual Merry Moo pint with the label prototypes. I’m still hoping we could have the lid done in white or black so it would look more cohesive.
These are the actual pints now (the picture is from the Facebook page).
Man, oh man. I’ve been excited to put up this project. I did this a couple of months ago and my client gave me the go-signal to post about it. Acie Fores (old website is here) is a makeup artist who is trying to streamline her branding and communication materials.
She discovered me through that one feature I had in YStyle and I was really glad that some people actually discover designers through the newspaper still and actually reach out for work. It’s not very conventional for me but it’s still cool all the same.
Acie and I actually bonded over a lot over the trials and travails of starting out with your own business. She was really easy to talk to and my creative brief was straightforward enough. Acie is trying to establish herself in the makeup industry and wants to make a name in fashion and weddings.
When I meet with my clients, I always do a visual driver exercise with them. I think of it as the mood board that becomes the mother of all the designs I create for the client. It’s a way for me to get to know someone’s personality, values, and taste. I could do away with this and impose my design sensibility on a client but I don’t think branding works that way, especially when the brand is the person herself.
Milton Glaser said it best with “Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad – the client, the audience and you.” (See the rest of what he said in his amazing AIGA talk, “Ten Things I Have Learned”)
Wow, I’m pretty talky today. Ok, but the thing with doing visual drivers is that it’s a lot like tarot reading (yes I do tell people that because yes, I can read tarot cards) because you can already see stories and patterns emerging from it. You can spy a dominate color scheme and an overall emotion.
So for my first study I zoomed into the orange. It’s fresh and friendly. It’s also something that you don’t connote with fashion so it’s a good color to own. I wanted this direction to be lively and the images I thought of included Farrah Fawcett, Bryce Dallas Howard in her Kate Spade campaign, and the famous Beverly Hills Hotel banana leaf print pattern (very, very fresh and classic).
I mentioned “classic” because I wanted to take my cues from fashion typography, which is already an archetype embedded in the collective consciousness. Universally, fashion is synonymous to dramatic serif fonts. Think of the play on the thickness and extreme lightness of weights on its lines. This is why Didot and Bodoni are the go-to fonts for these kinds of things. They’re elegant and grand.
So now I have ideas for the color and the font. For the font, I didn’t want to use the staples. For one thing, they’re overdone and two, they’re kinda snooty. Acie’s brand is classy but not snooty. I really wanted a font to have the thin and thick play of the fashion fonts.
I don’t know where everyone goes font hunting, but I make it a habit to read the Type Trends articles of FontShop. It was in this blog entry that I learned stencils were having a moment in typography right now. Observe the designs that will be coming out for the rest of the year onwards — they will feature stencils. Fresh, yes! Classic, yes!
Something not so random: I was researching Bryce Dallas Howard for Kate Spade, yeah? I guess I got into the imagery of spades that I thought of aces — and wait, Aces = Acie! That train of thought inspired me to incorporate a nice art deco border that’s reminiscent of vintage playing cards. I didn’t want to scream playing cards, but the thought made for a unique visual.
I decided to fill the A with diagonal lines because the solid option looked too severe.
I created my own banana leaf pattern and used gold! I got the idea from a picture of one of Paloma Picasso’s cuffs for Tiffany’s (which was in the visual driver and which Acie liked). I really loved the end result. It felt very Miami-luxe.
My first study was very visual driven. For the second study, I wanted it to be more experiential. I’ve been a bride and I remember what it was like to have my makeup done on my wedding. I know for sure that what I want out of a makeup session is a lot similar to what other brides want. We want it stress-free and calming.
I made my mood board just that. I put in pictures of water and greens. For visual sparkle, I literally used sparkly things. I like copper (a gorgeous contrast to the blues of the ocean) and sequins. This is still another way I interpreted the visual driver. The key is to never stray.
I wanted this second study to be a lot cleaner. I wanted people to feel relaxed while looking at it. Rather than white, I opted for an ivory background. I integrated a blue brushstroke to summon the ocean and the imagery of makeup brushes. Instead of fashion editorials, my inspiration here was makeup packaging. I told Acie that if she ever decides to come out with her own products, this look will transition so well.
I also came up with an icon that will be unique to Acie. I like the triangle because it’s solid and simple.
And from there, I developed a pattern out of the icon:
For type treatments, I decided to keep in clean and simple, too — but with a bit of a flourish. Check out the “R” in “Fores.”
I’m so in love with the pattern! My suggestion was to foil stamp the pattern in copper. Then I proceeded to imagine it on makeup boxes!
I think Acie loved the pattern as much as I did. She picked the second study as it was more in line with her persona as a makeup artist. She’s still in the process of transitioning into the new identity and it should be fun to see it come together when it’s all done.