:2010: January

The first month of my 2010 calendar series. I'd like to think that each month will have a similar geometrical feel, but I'm going to do them as they come along, so it might actually be interesting to see how I evolve over the year. Stay tuned.

(The typeface is a custom type treatment I did on Helvetica Neue UltraLight)

:ILLUSTRATION: Jake's Christmas Card

I made a Christmas Card that I was going to send out to everybody, but I also wanted to make something special for Jake, to show him how grateful I was for all the work he gave me in 2009 and also show my appreciation for Transmission (seriously, I love it down there). So, knowing he is a man of tastes that lie very heavily in the Mid-Century Modern era, I threw this little guy together. It evokes the 1960's AND Christmas. I love it, and he said it was beautiful. Luckily we both are fans of that time period. I'm glad it was a success, because as I just mentioned, I'm a beginner at illustration, and I had very little reference.

:ILLUSTRATION: Kat's Birthday

So, I mentioned in my other blog that I've been taking a lot of inspiration from illustration in the 1960s lately. I love the imperfection and hand-drawn quality of it. Plus it's fun. My best friend Kat's birthday was in the middle of December, and I knew I had to make something special and custom. I thought I could try to do some fancy typography on a card, but what would I write? I figured this was easier, because she's quite a big personality with lots of colorful clothing (pretty much the opposite of me). Plus we both love Retro. I drew this up, and the only thing I did wrong was the legs. They're kinda shapeless, but I'm still not very experienced in my illustrations.

For this I took a lot of inspiration from Shag.

I think she liked it.

:TRANSMISSION: Bowie Birthday Bash

Across the Board and Transmission are somewhat related in that the two DJs are friends AND they're both heavily influenced by David Bowie. Jake's favorite persona is Thin White Duke Bowie, and he wanted something simple and sexy for this poster. I was a little sad because I wanted to do something with space (yeah okay, I just love that stuff), but it didn't matter. I used ITC Avant Garde (duh) and a picture given to me by DJ SLT. I don't really like using pictures anymore because I feel it limits my creativity. It's too easy to stick an image in a design. I like challenging myself with illustration or vector shapes. Whatever, it's not my poster, it's Jake's. I used the lightest weight of font for this poster, since I was evoking the "thin" white duke. Once I found the right alignment, it was simple after that. I used a crumpled paper texture for the background, which I now regret. Overall, not my best or proudest work, but it could be worse. The most important thing is, Jake loved it.


I was tapped once again to do a poster for Across the Board's annual 5-hour David Bowie Birthday Show. I went out this I did with the original ATB poster; heavy cosmic influence. I think my favorite motif of Bowie's is the whole celestial-being thing. So, I try to play that up as much as I can (it's also a big reason for the Space Oddity poster). Plus, the program is in the middle of the night. I used my Bowie font and the starry background, along with a photo that the DJ actually owns. It was a matter of trial and error as to what to do with the photo. I applied a simple filter on it, and it turned out to be the best thing I could've done. It was a fairly straight forward poster to do, and I'm very fond of it.


:TRANSMISSION: The Smiths/ Morrissey night

You've perhaps noticed from other personal works of mine that I LOVE The Smiths, and equally so, Morrissey. So, I was waiting for this night for a while.

Morrissey, as an image, is a very inspiring shape. I love his hair and glasses, and I'm constantly illustrating him. Seriously. The hair. I love it. I had the illustration already when I got the assignment, so I simply stuck in a serif font to recall the album cover from The Queen is Dead. Very simple stuff. I did worry momentarily about the amount of literal white space, but then I had to remind myself that having such a stark image such as Morrissey was impact enough. And it got me quite a bit of notice, too. Thanks Moz, you always come through for me.

:PERSONAL: The Seasons

This is an ongoing thing, and I'm actually surprised I haven't put anything up about it yet. The Summer segment originally started it out, and it was very much inspired by THIS design by Rudolph De Harak. After that I decided to do something each season, and each time a little different. The Autumn one is so far the most different (I haven't decided why Spring will be like yet), and usually they reflect my current mood. I did Summer in PS, Autumn in Illustrator, and Winter in Indesign. I'm not sure why. If you were to ask me which is my favorite, I'd say Winter.


This one was both easy and hard. Sort of fun, but also stressful. I had been thinking about the New Year's for a while, and how I wanted to use a circle (seriously, I love circles) because of the ball in Times Square. It's a near-universal event that's associated with New Year's Eve. Next, I wanted to pay homage to a graphic designer that has influenced me many times, and was also part of a scene that Transmission is very much based upon, Peter Saville.

The main graphic is almost stolen directly from this. I didn't make it quite as geometrically immaculate, but it works either way. Really the only direction I got from Jake was to use the Transmission logo, which I incorporated into the colorful graphic. I used Helvetica Bold, obv. There are 12 colors used, for 12 months, and the gap is supposed to be December 31. Obviously nobody is supposed to deduce that just from looking at it, but it's there, and it's purposeful. At least I can't be accused of not thinking it out.

I think maybe it was a bit risky to make it so, so simple, especially for a big glitzy night. To be sure, it was met with some hesitation, and the whole thing was almost scrapped, but I was very insistent, and possibly even a little diva. I wanted this to work, and eventually I was able to submit this as my final design. I haven't yet heard anything negative about it, so I'm hoping that it's (still) a good design. I think if I had sat on it longer, I could've come up with something that was still in this vein, but with even more visual impact. I've actually thought of a few things that I could've done, too. Another time, another time.

ALSO I designed the ticket for the event. Another reason I really fought for my original design was because it went so well on the ticket:

:PERSONAL: Golden Years

Golden Years is such a great song. And I always reserve ITC Avant Garde for anything Bowie.

:TRANSMISSION: Thanksgiving Eve

I'm a bit behind, it's true. I think this might be my favorite Transmission poster that I've done. It's simple, modern, clean and striking. And it makes sense. Quick description:

The UK band The Big Pink were going to be Guest DJ-ing for the last hour and Jake wanted that to be the focus of the poster. Without making anything too obvious, I decided to use circles (because I love circles) to visualize a turn table (with a BIG PINK circle in the middle). It's also very modern, kinda like a marshmallow couch. I'm also a bit in love with my continuation of the pink circle in all the O's. Yeah okay, so I'm a bit in love with my whole design. Am I wrong?

:PERSONAL: How to Dress like Me

I must qualify the fact that I am a bit vain. I love the way I dress, even though it is often very simple and casual. Lots of black and grey. BUT my outfits are picked with purpose, and always coordinated. One day I felt like it was necessary to give a rundown of my essential uniform, so I illustrated this little guy and decided to get cheeky. I like my clothes.

:PERSONAL: Everyday is like Sunday

Morrissey. Enough said.


The Midnight Movie Society was formed by Jake Rudh (DJ at Transmission) and Vita.MN (the weekly magazine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune). Apparently they had a graphic designer but didn't like the direction so they tapped me. Me! The Star Tribune is the biggest Newspaper in the midwest, and there are hundreds of designers in the city, and I got a personal call. It's not such a bad thing.

But, about the work. I was given about 24 hours to complete this. Probably the first time I've had such a strict deadline. Luckily, I know a lot about the movie Clue. But it was hard as hell to come up with a concept. The only piece of art direction I got really was to base it off the Original Movie Poster. And, as it turns out, I love colored lines. There really wasn't much to go off of in the way of stock images, and I WAS getting paid for this, so I knew I had to create my own art. I went about tediously tracing lo-res stock images. I wasn't worried about perfection because where do I take inspiration from? The 60s. And what is so great about 60s illustration? It's imperfect and non-complex. Next, the lines. At first they were going every-which-way and when I submitted it there was a suggestion to make them all lead to the title, and possibly with little weapons on them. I originally thought about doing something with the weapons, but then I didn't. Anyway, with about 30 minutes to the deadline, and with a rapidly dying computer battery, I was lucky to find an illustration online of the Clue weapons and I did a livetrace in Illustrator. This is the finished product. I'm proud of it, but at the same time, sick of looking at it. It was published in several issues of vita.mn and I got a nice little sum; my first paid gig! It was a very hard, very stressful project. I'd never felt so much pressure to do well. Tears were shed for sure. Thanks to Jake for continuing to have faith in me and get me work!