The poster design of Mads Berg

I recently discovered the illustration work of Danish artist Mads Berg. He has a beautiful authentic vintage style that somehow doesn’t look out of place in a modern context. Inspiring stuff.

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Stranger Things

Like many, I’ve been enamoured by Netflix’s Stranger Things TV series. Whilst I’ve never really been into horror as a genre, there’s something about the combination of good suspenseful writing, science fiction and on-point 80s nostalgia.

Part of that was the title sequence featuring the internet’s most talked-about title font; ITC Benguiat. This article takes a fascinating look into the history and inspiration for the choice of typeface.

A selection of my logo work

Although not my primary focus, over the years I have developed the corporate and brand identities for a wide variety of businesses, events and groups. It’s always an enjoyable challenge to attempt to encapsulate the character of a company within a succinct, attractive and memorable design.

He's here!

Introducing Fletcher William Hutchison, arrived safely into the world on 12th September 2015.

Milestones

The cake was good. So was the weather.

Retro Qantas Livery

I love this. To mark the 70th anniversary of its “Flying Kangaroo”, Qantas has painted their final Boeing 737-800 in a retro 1970s-era livery...

Qantas 737 Retrojet VH-XZP

When I was a kid I used to make model aeroplanes, and I went through a phase of putting together kits of various airliners. This meant I played close attention to the colour schemes of the different airlines (in retrospect this probably contributed to my early graphic design education!).

This is perhaps my favourite Qantas livery, seen here on John Travolta’s Boeing 707: 

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The Sign Painters

I recently watched this fascinating documentary about the art of Sign Painting. I recommend checking it out – It delves into the history, the artistry, the personalities and sadly, the changes in the sign making industry that has seen a rapid transformation of the aesthetics of our built environment.

Starfish

It’s a time for new beginnings. I’ve recently started working with the fantastically talented bunch of guys and gals at Clever Starfish. I’m going be concentrating more on website design specifically, which (weirdly) is a return to my design roots.

The first of my designs to go live is for Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt. Check em out next time you are in Leederville (or any of their 580 locations worldwide!).

I'm Back!

After 6 months travelling around South America (with a brief visit to Canada and the US) I’m back in Perth and ready to get back to it. Keep an eye out for more regular updates! If you're curious to what we got up to (ice trekking, being robbed, piranha fishing, speaking bad spanish...) check out our travel blog at southamerica2010.com

Taking a Break

This website has been a little quiet for a while as I’ve been travelling in South America. I’ll be in North America in December and back in Australia (and looking for graphic design work) in early January 2011. In the meantime things will be a little quiet around here. I have some cover design work coming out for IDW in the months I’m away and if you’re super keen you can follow our travels at southamerica2010.com

Adios!

WPA Poster Archive

One of my big design inspirations is the poster work of the Works Progress Administration (WPA); a "New Deal" agency formed by the US government in the 1930s to help end depression era unemployment.

The Library of Congress has a great searchable archive of close to 1000 WPA posters (500 of them are about not getting syphilis: good to know!).

Most of the posters feature bold abstracted designs and type typical of the modernisim that is associated with the Art Deco era. Despite the often semi-professional status of the artists who made them, they have come to have their own identifiable style. The posters are a lesson in simplicity, whilst maintaining personality.

You can see their direct influence in my own posters and cover artwork for Transformers: All Hail Megatron.

You may also be interested in my article on vintage concert poster design.

Transformers: Drift in 3D!

A couple of years ago a good mate of mine, Transformers writer Shane McCarthy came up with a new Autobot character for a minor role in IDW's All Hail Megatron comic book series. He was called Autobot Drift and was in part a homage to the japanese origins of transforming toys. Shane worked with the series artist, Guido Guidi on coming up with Drift's look (see his initial designs here) My small contribution as the resident petrol-head was to suggest that the drift car he transform into be a Nissan Silvia S15.

As is the norm with this type of work, the editors at IDW Publishing and Hasbro, the owners of the Transformers franchise needed to approve the inclusion before publication. From what I can tell, the marketing types got a bit excited. Okay, they got a lot excited. So excited that they decided "We're going to make this into a toy!"

So two years later, I find myself driving around to various toy stores all around Perth trying to find Autobot Drift (apparently there are Transformers collectors at Ozformers who keep track of this stuff - handy!). I managed to find one in Toyworld Claremont. Being Claremont I'm sure they added an extra 50% to the price, because, it's Claremont.

It was pretty surreal to see a 3D realisation of Shane & Guido's character there on the shelves in real life. I get the same kind of surreal buzz seeing my own design work in print.

The actual Drift toy is remarkably close to Guido's comic book design. The Hasbro designers have done a remarkable job for what must have been a complex engineering task. I was also really impressed by the pose-ability of the character and you can style some pretty neat poses when Drift brandishes his two-handed sword. Yes, Drift has three swords. It's doesn't get much more awesome, unless of course they were lightsabres. Or maybe flaming lightsabres... but I digress.

My one criticism probably says more about me than the toy, but transforming these toys seems so much more difficult than I remember.

When I was a kid you just folded them in half.

Oh, and Drift has a new comic mini-series coming out.

Top 5 Job Application Tips for Graphic Designers

Earlier today as part of my regular job I was reviewing job applications for a Senior Graphic Designer position. While some of the applications were quite decent, there were so many bad ones that I gained a LOT of insight into what NOT to do when applying for a graphic design position. There were 20+ applications to sort through and I was surprised at how many made it so easy for me to eliminate them from the running. So to help prevent aspiring graphic designers out there from making these same mistakes, I thought I’d present my top 5 job application tips! All of these were based on actual employment applications I reviewed! Amazing!

1. Check your spelling.

Especially paragraphs where you write about how much experience you have at proofing things for print. I kid you not!

2. Don't set your resume in Arial.

Good designers should be aware of the message their typeface choices send. Arial is clean, modern and legible typeface, yes, but it’s also a weak default option. Choosing Arial just shows me how design-ignorant you are. Out of all the other great options there are out there, you chose a default font in Microsoft Word, and a much derided one at that.  (Exception: email applications: your choices are limited here.)

3. Leave out the fluffy stuff.

“I’m a forward-thinking success-motivated individual who seeks out dynamic interpersonal... blah blah blah…” NEXT.

4. Show me your work.

At least give me a link to some of your work online or include some portfolio pieces within a PDF. Your resume might read really well, but that doesn’t convince me you have a good eye for design. Oh, and if you do have a website portfolio showing your work, make sure the site isn’t completely broken.

5. Consider the content of your portfolio.

Don’t fill up your portfolio with weaker projects. It looks better to show 5 strong examples than 35 questionable ones. Where possible, explain your role in each project. Did you design that logo, or just put it on a red background and make it into a banner? Did you design and code your website from scratch, or apply your logo to a template? Thought processes and design rationales are excellent, just keep them concise.

And... maybe it’s best that you leave out that uni project you did for amphetamine product packaging. I’m sure it was really cool for your classmates, but now I can’t help but think you’re going to steal our laptops to pay for your meth.

Remember that this is all about convincing me that you’re effective at visual communication. The best thing you can do is imagine yourself in the place of the interviewer and consider all the messages your job application sends.

Okay, now go out there and land that design job!

Rare Transformers Covers

On of the perks of designing cover art for comic book publishers like IDW is receiving complimentary copies of the comics you worked on.

With IDW I usually get two copies of the regular comic, and as in the case of Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers, where they print a limited run of variant covers based on my artwork, two copies of the variant covers.

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The variant covers (pictured) for this series are my regular cover design minus the titles and other cover markings, printed on better paper with a matt varnish finish. The matt varnish feels really slick, although it reduces the blackness of the dark areas in the design, so tends to work better for designs that are lighter or more saturated. I design my covers with the titles in place as I believe that they are a fundamental part of the finished cover design, so sometimes this can leave a bit of an unbalanced space at the top when the titles are removed. But overall I think the variants are pretty neat to have. The rareness of them is an extra bonus!

I haven’t read LSotW all the way through yet (although I did read the script many months ago) but I’m looking forward to it. From all accounts this series has been really popular, particularly with the die-hard Transformers fans. I like this approach from IDW. They seem to be mixing accessible storylines that make it relatively easy for new readers to jump on board, with mini-series and single issue stories tailored for the hardcore fans.

I have some more IDW cover work coming up, but as with these things, nothing I can talk about just yet, sorry!