The following are passion projects that exhibit how I think, what interests me, and why I make messages with meaning.
the War of Art
Challenge: To design Steven Pressfield’s republication of The War of Art. This book is 17 year old, but remains as relevant as the day it was written. In fact, it will always be relevant for visionaries, and that everlasting relevancy needs to be conveyed on bookshelves across America and the great wide-web. People want help, but they want it to be relevant—especially in an age of content-overload.
Matter: The War of Art is a self-help book for creatives. Steven Pressfield poignantly describes the nature of resistance—the creatives’ nemesis—and explains how to defeat it.
Solution: Archetypes are universal symbols for the shared human-experience. They represent the past, present, and future. Symbols have the power to cross language barriers and to stand the test of time. For these reasons I decided to look for a symbol that would represent Pressfield’s thesis—and I found koi fish.
Koi fish are symbolic of courage, overcoming adversity, and the ability to attain a persons highest goals. This is ultimately what a creative is setting out to do, and it is what Pressfield is trying to help people do with the wisdom he shares. I created a linoleum block print of a koi fish jumping into water to represent the need to dive into resistance, and to continually swim against it in order to work professionally as a creative. By overlaying the title of the book on top of the illustration, I’m visually expressing the duality of the desire and the fear to create; the nature of resistance.
Contributions: The copy used in this project is from “The War of Art”. I created the concept, illustration and design.
Challenge: Today the travel industry is booming, likely because of competitive airfare pricing and the rapid increase in social media—where we can all see what “The Jones’s” are up to on the other side of the world. For cities like Paris and London, the travel industry has always been favorable, but other countries and cities have a difficult time gaining traction in this thriving tourism market. Estonia is one of those countries that is struggling to gain traction because of it’s difficult history as a long-term victim of the soviet union. Estonia has a lot of catching up to do as far as making itself known on the map for those wanderlust souls that cherish adventures into the unknown. Estonia would like to reintroduce itself to the world as a welcoming treasure for all to visit.
Matter: Estonia is a cozy and quaint cultural destination that the well-traveled persons have yet to visit. Astounding and culturally varied architecture stands in its cities, and rolling farm lands and forests interweave its towns. The baltic sea and gulf of Finland create far-reaching shores, and many islands pepper the seas. Estonia has ancient traditions and a unique language, that have survived over 724 years of oppression. It’s a remarkable gem that opened its doors to the world when it regained independence in 1991.
Solution: I decided to reintroduce Estonia to the world as a vibrant and beautiful destination that is rich in history, culture and the peoples joy—it’s a place for others to explore, experience and share. The logo is based on the national flower; the blue cornflower. The visual theme of the brand identity is based on traditional embroidery found on their folk garments. The brand colors represent the pride (blue) and the joy (yellow) of Estonians—the very people who are opening their doors to the world.
Contributions: Photography is from unsplash.com. Concept, process, copy and designs were created by yours truly.
Challenge: New organic and natural hygiene products are showing up on shelves across the country daily. Which is great, but it’s also why it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to stand out on the shelf as an exceptional hygiene product. Thankfully, what makes Bota products unique isn’t their natural and ethically sourced ingredients, but rather it’s the company’s philosophy. The challenge is to make Bota stand out on the shelves amongst all of its worthy competitors. The packaging needs to peak consumers' interests in the philosophy of the brand, so that Bota and consumers can make a lasting connection.
Matter: The name Bota is short for “botanical magic”. What does botanical magic mean? Simply put, it’s a knowledge of the power of plants, and the belief in their ability to provide the nourishment we need.
Solution: Surreal hands caressing abstracted eyes evokes the sense of introspection into a deeper perspective. Bright green paint textures create an organic and vital background. A white circle behind the logo and a white rectangle behind the scent title serve as grounding elements. Together the aspects of this packaging design invite the contemporary and conscientious consumer to have an intentional relationship with Bota products.
Contributions: I created the concept, copy, design, prototype, styling & photography.
Challenge: Passion thrives around passion, and that’s why Nina, the first female-owned recording studio in Los Angeles, wants to grow its brand and business around empowering passion and soul-driven projects. The foundation of Nina was inspired by American music legend, Nina Simone, the Queen of Soul. The owners are proud to open the first female-owned recording studio and they want the brand to “speak with a femme-vibe,” but most importantly, they want to share passion.
Matter: Nina is a new, high-end recording studio that’s entering a competitive market. More than a business though, it’s a passion project, and it’s answering an unmet need in the recording industry. Artists and visionaries need more than a business transaction, they need to share their passion with like-minded individuals.
Solution: I started with the logo mark. It is an expression of the power (the strong “N”) and the grace (the fluid “Nina”) that Nina Simone lived and breathed. Then I moved onto the color palette. Orange is for creativity, purple is for passion and yellow is for empowerment. The style guide uses gradient mesh as a visual theme, airy-spacing for text, and color overlays and halftone treatments on photographs. The featured letterhead and website showcase the brand’s style in action.
Contributions: Photography is from unsplash.com. I created the concept, copy and design.
Challenge: Balanchine Black & White is an understated ballet performance, with informal black and white costumes, and no stage decor. Strangely, amongst all of the other performances on New York City Ballet’s seasonal calendar, it stands out as the force to be reckoned with. NYC Ballet needs a promotional brochure and city billboards that publicize this simply powerful experience.
Matter: The choreography for this ballet was created by the legendary George Balanchine, “the choreographer’s choreographer”. Balanchine’s three ballets within the program are set to modernist 20th-century music, a sound that conveys “linguistic plurality,” no music genre assumes dominance. Balanchine Black & White has been performed by ballet companies around the world since it was first created in 1988.
Solution: A clean and active layout, in a black and white palette convey Balanchine’s visual style. The combination of Baskerville (an old-style typeface) and Avenir (a future typeface) convey its timeless relevance. Clipped-out black and white photographs of ballerinas practicing the choreography give viewers a sneak preview of the masterpiece, Balanchine.
Contributions: Photography is from unsplash.com. Copy is from NYC Ballet. I created the concept, design and mockups.
The Challenge: Skillshare has managed to secure a spot in the e-learning sector, but it’s faced with the challenge of staying competitive in a rapidly expanding market. Skillshare is looking for an innovative way to remind its urban demographic of the importance of the life long pursuit of learning.
The Matter: Skillshare is an online learning community for the design, business, and technology sectors. People gain unlimited access to its expansive library of workshops and tutorials with a reasonable monthly (or annual) subscription fee. It’s a tool for people in all stages of their career; from the novice that’s finding their way, to the professional that understands the value in continued education.
The Solution: For this advertising campaign I wanted to find an accessible way to talk to viewers about the abstract and complex cognitive concepts of learning and memory in order to make a connection between the intangible mind, and this tangible learning platform. If you ask a stranger on the street if they know what learning and memory are, they’ll likely say, “Yes.” However, if you ask a stranger on the street to explain how learning and memory work, they may not be able to explain those cognitive concepts.
Here comes the solution: Iconography is humankind’s first form of written communication, and it’s still an incredibly effective way of sharing information simply and quickly. Icons have the ability to cross language barriers and to stand the test of time. This is why I chose to design this concept with icons and plain-speak.
Street billboards walk city dwellers through the concepts of learning, memory and intention, in a clear and accessible way. These posters work to invite viewers to reflect on how they’re using their mind and connecting that introspection with what Skillshare has to offer. This design concept is carried over into an interactive brochure that the company can use as promotional collateral for marketing, trade shows, and conferences.
Contributions: The logo used is from Skillshare. I created the concept, copy, design, mockups and lifestyle photography.