Archive for the 'Business Week' Category

Business Week: After The Spill (+1)

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Art Direction: Patricia Hwang

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This illustration for Bloomberg Business Week came together quickly after the story that Patricia Hwang and I had been working on prior to this was killed. The large oil drop is attached to a piece reporting how small, independent drilling companies are being bought up by larger oil corporations in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

The story which we had been working on previously (which, naturally, I’m now keenly interested in reading), examines how the announcement of Goldman Sachs’ new finance reporting guidelines amount to little else than a shuffling of numbers just complex enough to present the impression of work. It’s obviously a weighty accusation, so it’s entirely possible that tabling the story while conducting further extensive reporting might have been why it was pulled. Details of the sketches I submitted are below.

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Social Sifting

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I recently wrapped up working with art director Patricia Kim on a feature illustration for Bloomberg Business Week which looks at a new breed of startup that builds applications which crunch and interpret data (read: comments) on Facebook, Twitter and the remaining social networking ilk to better inform corporations how their products are faring in the marketplace. The success of such applications is contingent on speed as well as the ability to parse sarcastic speech (which, as it turns out, is a little tricky).

The breakdown of the varying degrees to which these applications work is naturally tech heavy, so behaving as true contrarians, Patricia and I decided upon collaging antique machinery and old engravings to depict a distinctly of-the-moment process of parsing ones and zeroes and profiteering.

I was grateful to get this assignment when I did, as I was (and to some degree still am), playing over so many great moments from what is quite possibly the only movie that ever need broach the subject of social networking.

Business Week – The Power of Shame

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This was another quick one for Business Week. It concerns the likely public humiliation that will arise from the SEC forcing CEOs to disclose their epic salaries and bonuses from the past year. Form fitting as that dunce cap may appear, I don’t think it’s going to save anyone from flying tomatoes or the stockade if the SEC actually follows through on that. To get your public humiliation on, read on here.

Art direction by Laura Renga.

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Business Week: A Carribean Tax Holiday

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This feature illustration is running in the 2/22/2010 issue of Business Week. Were that I were able to verbally distill the issue of the piece any better than the actual article, then I could conceivably consider switching careers to become a finance reporter. Until that day arrives, Jessica Silver-Greenberg can explain it best:

“At a time when the Obama Administration is preparing for a bitter battle with big multinationals over closing arcane tax loopholes, legions of mostly small retailers and service providers are minimizing their U.S. tax bills by sending credit-card receipts to Panama, Nevis, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, and other business-friendly havens. The IRS estimates that $100 billion a year in revenue is escaping U.S. sales and income taxes in this manner.”

The scoop in full can be read here. Art direction by Ron Plyman.

Business Week: The Shift to a Social Web

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Art director Victor Williams helped me to set a personal land speed record for completing an assignment for this 2″ x 2″ spot for Business Week. The image concerns the suggestion that social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, MySpace etc., are on course to compete with and potentially replace sites such as Google and Yahoo as people’s default destination on the internet. Their versatility and general lean towards group connectivity establishes them as hubs for links, news feeds, shopping and inane status updates from your twice-removed high school acquaintances. Compiling all of this information on a central, personalized web hub like Facebook as a one-stop shop suggests an interesting take on the future of the internet.

Victor hit me up about this around noon on a Monday, specifying that he would need it quickly that afternoon. By 3:00, we were looking at comps, which is admittedly fast for me. It helped considerably that the ideas were blunt and simple. Many of which, pictured below, were killed ultimately nixed (with good reason).

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Money vs. Money vs. Money

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Putting aside my talent for stating the obvious, people from all corners of the country have quite a bit to weigh in on within the arena of money these days. Between the bailouts, the deficits, the stimulus packages, the unwarranted bonuses and the collective wallets from which all of those funds will ultimately be lifted from, finding an opinion or a suggestion as to how all of this money is being delegated is easy to stumble upon even if you’re lazy.

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A slightly greater challenge of late has been coming up with increasingly different ways to represent this socioeconomic dungheap visually. Above are two pieces I just completed for Report on Business, a magazine released in conjunction with The Globe and Mail in Canada. The articles that they were paired with denote that free-market economic theorists, while currently playing defense to the charge that their policies are in part responsible for capsizing the U.S. economy, still have ample evidence to suggest that the brontosaurus-sized stimulus package that’s currently getting wedged through Congress could turn out to be the biggest waste of money since…well…the dawn of currency.

The piece below was done simultaneously for Business Week‘s current Management issue, concerning the fact that the government will be a much closer, much more present business partner in everyday dealings now than its ever been before.

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Factoring in that each of these pieces required multiple comps in order to decide on a specific direction, I remember thinking at the time how difficult it was to keep coming up with different ways of illustrating problems with money. Now, having seen other illustrators’ work in that same issue, I feel as though I’ve been suitably taken to school. During a time in which the future of actual printed magazines is uncertain, Business Week’s art directors seem to have pulled out all their stops in assembling a roster of true artistic heavyweights to take a relatively dry subject and make it sing page for page. Alex Williamson, George Bates, Christoph Neimann, Dan Page, Harry Campbell, Kate Banazi, David Plunkert, Oliver Munday, Thomas Fuchs, Brian Stauffer, Edel Rodriguez, Jonny Hannah and James Steinberg all have pieces in this issue. All are different, all are inventive and all have in as many instances announced to me loudly that drawing ideas forth long after you’re certain that you’ve exhausted the possibilities is central to bringing one’s A-Game to such an assignment. The Business Week site for whatever reason isn’t featuring each and every one of these pieces, so I would strongly recommend a brief abandonment of the laptop, going outside and picking up an actual physical copy to see all that work showcased in one place. It’s a nice, gentle reminder of how printed materials can and should exist alongside the web. Exit soapbox.

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