NYT – Up, Up and Out


This illustration for the Times’ Op/Ed Page accompanies Paul Kane’s article suggesting, among other substantial reforms to our armed forces, that the Air Force be eliminated entirely and have its resources redistributed throughout the Army, Navy and Marines (apparently, this leaves squat for the Coast Guard). To hear him tell it, the proposal sounds a lot crazier than it actually is.

As I am a sucker for dots, here’s a detail:


Leanne Shapton contacted me about working on this on a Friday night, giving me the weekend to experiment and brood. This turned out to be a blessing of sorts as I really struggled to land an idea for this article that I felt confident was going to stick come Monday morning when the comps were due. The article makes two additional reformation proposals which, while not as headline-grabbing as the Air Force suggestion, were powerful ideas nonetheless and I performed a healthy amount of self-flaggelation trying to concoct an image that could potentially encompass all three of these ideas. Ultimately, I failed in that task and Leanne, whether for good or for ill, endured more comps than usual from me on this one. The most ridiculous one below depicts an F-15 landing trajectory flying directly into a black hole before touching down.


Also of interest, the design firm Fogelson-Lubliner, who regularly contribute great pieces to the Op/Ed page, did an excellent spot for the Letters section today on the opposite page regarding U.S. torture and accountability. Good stuff.

UPDATE: Esteemed design guru Paul Sahre and his co-conspirator Sebastian Rether did the Letters’ piece documenting the responses to Kane’s piece. The letters (including one from the understandably nonplussed Air Force Chief of Staff), are all over the board, but the illustration is uniformly awesome.


  1. Mike
    June 15th, 2009 | 12:06 pm

    I’m oh so late on this one, digg sent me here to look at your wedding invite (nice btw). I just wanted to say that the illustration on the responses page is awesome except for one thing. It’s an F-18 which is a Navy/Marine Corps plane.

    Details, details…