Archive for May, 2010

The Other White Powder

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How is salt like a garden variety narcotic? Short of snorting it to find out, (which, if you’re truly that curious, then Godspeed), a recent report from the IOM finds that sodium is used to such harmful extents in restaurants and prepared foods that they’re suggesting that the FDA become involved and enforce more rigid regulation nationwide. Naturally, certain people think that such a suggestion is long overdue, and others want it to go away.

The above illo is my first ever piece for The New Republic and collaboration with their longtime design director Joe Heroun.

Adland for Anchor

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A few months back, I had the occasion to meet some dude named John Gall who invited me to speak to his students at his SVA book design class. The students were treated to an hour long oration of my adventures in design from the past five years in addition to multiple sidebars where I cataloged some of my bigger public mistakes and snafus (complete with slides, no less). John, in turn, let me take a stab (or 20) at a cover in the form of ex-advertising executive James P. Othmer’s polemic: Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet.

The book is a self-effacing, first person account of Othmer watching the advertising landscape transform around himself over the tenure of his career in the late ’90′s and early 00′s. It reads as one part memoir and one part exploded diagram—charting the efficacy of modern advertising between television commercials with multimillion dollar budgets and catering all the way down to spam.

The chosen cover above was my attempt at visualizing multiple competing messages (which Othmer examines at length in the book) and arranging them into a cover that can actually be read.

Half of the killed comps below (and there were many others) have a preoccupation with chickens. This is because Othmer has a preoccupation with chickens. Throughout the book, he measures success in advertising with the chicken as his yardstick. Specifically, the rote, stockholder-dictated constraints of the KFC commercials which he’s obligated to visualize as their creative director, versus the groundbreaking and wildly successful ‘Subservient Chicken‘ campaign produced by Burger King in the early 2000′s which contributed to thousands upon thousands of untold wasted hours on the internet typing in outrageous commands with which to exert supremacy over a man in a chicken suit. In the comping stages, the chicken became this perfect conduit that lead me through Othmer’s narrative.

Comically, despite the chicken’s virtual omnipresence inside the book, the covers in which I attempted to use them were killed largely because they wouldn’t have made much sense to anyone who hadn’t been prepped with the preceding paragraph, thereby proving the rule once again that while chickens are still very funny, they can’t sell you advertising.

KILLED COMPS:

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Generation X’s Midlife Crisis

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When Kelly Doe handed me the rough draft for A.O Scott’s piece for the Week in Review about the midlife crisis of Generation X, I was in the middle of an allergy-infused stupor and my skull felt like it weighed 20 lbs. It is with that in mind, that one of last week’s small miracles resulted in us using not one but two of my proposed sketches being used in the final piece that ran on Sunday.

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The other (and arguably greater) miracle which manifested itself in its true glory after final art was turned in was the majesty of prescription Allegra. That helped considerably.

One other sketch which was briefly on the table is below:

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Art direction: Kelly Doe

Pharmacist: N/A

Letters – How to Fix the Cancer Trials Program

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A whole slew of oncologists and clinical researchers chime in on the NYT Letters section in response to their recent editorial which explained why current funding for U.S. cancer research is in arrears and what can be done to help correct it.

Art direction: Kim Bost