Fine Art Book

Last year, one of my clients asked me to design an “art book” to celebrate their exhibitors. I find that one of the best ways to design with fine art is to get out of the way and let the pieces speak for themselves. The project was a study in simplicity. The cover of the book has a gold foil treatment and is perfect bound. We then added a printed sleeve to keep the booklet protected during shipping.

cover with sleeve art book coming out of sleeve art book on top of sleeve interior spread with wild cat artwork interior spread wtih fox artwork interior spread of art book back of art book - foil logo

 

I was very pleased with the results and so was my client.

Have a great week,

sig

The Case of the Pineapple Cliché

A short (& cheesy) detective story

It was a day like any other day, sunny and hot. I was sitting at my desk (sitting is the new smoking) when the phone rang loudly. The dame on the other end of the line was in distress. I jumped in my car and headed East of the Cooper. When I arrived, my client – let’s call her Trixie – looked up from her desk, anxious, with a handful of papers and a look of panic in her eyes.

Me: Hello, kid. You rang?

Trixie: I need a flyer designed, Detective. It’s for a special event I’m putting on for members of the hospitality industry. I can’t think of any imagery that would work. Can you help?

This case could be tricky, I thought. In a world of endless advertising, it can be hard to express old ideas in new and engaging ways. I went with my gut: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Me: How about using a pineapple? It’s the universal symbol for hospitality.

Trixie: No! I hate pineapples. They’re so overused and cliché.

Me: Trust me, kid. I gotta hunch.

I went back to my office and got to work. A few days later we met again, only this time, I was carrying the papers. I opened up my briefcase and showed her the work.

mount pleasant echa flyer design

Trixie: Oh Detective! It’s perfect.

Me: It’s all in a day’s work, kid. All in a day’s work.

Case Closed. I went back to my office and had a long sit.

The end.

Have a great week,

sig

P.S. A good designer can always find new ways to express a worn-out idea or cliché. If you need a good designer, get in touch: ab@andrewbartondesign.com or (843) 882-7627.

Simple Stamp Timebox

I often face a problem in my day to day work life. The problem stems from two separate realities:

  1. Terrible To-do List. There are many many many things I want to create. The list is endless and overwhelming.
  2. Perfectionism – the archenemy of progress. Even with small things, I often won’t take them on until I know I have time to do them perfectly. This prevents me from tackling my Terrible To-Do list. Is all lost?

foreverNot quite. An effective solution is called timeboxing. In short, you choose a task (or deliverable) and give it a set amount of time. At the end of that time, whatever you’ve accomplished is the final deliverable. In other words, you create a deadline and then stick to it no matter what. When your time is up, you’re finished with that project – forever.

Okay not necessarily forever. And it doesn’t work on every task. But for the right projects, I love this technique. It forces you to focus on the essentials and cut the fat. It works especially well if you’re deadline-driven, as I am.

Last week, I had an extra hour or two and I challenged myself to time box a small project I’d been putting off: create (and order) a return address stamp. Since the stamp isn’t expensive or something I’ll use forever, I figured it would be a great project to timebox.

sketch of hand drawn stamp

Here’s how it turned out. First I did the sketch. Then I scanned it. Then I converted it to a digital vector program and played around with it until my time was up. I placed the order just in time to hit my deadline.

handmade return address stamp

Is it perfect? No, but I love how it turned out. I had fun making it. And, of course, now I can cross something off that Terrible To-do list.

Have a great week,

sig

SIDENOTE: One interesting application of the timebox concept is used in creating indie (small time) video games. I’ve participated in a couple of these contests. Both times, I worked with a developer to create a simple, playable computer game in three days. You might be able to play one of them in your browser here (doesn’t work in Chrome).

Fishy Field Trip

The other day, I couldn’t bare to look at my computer screen for one more second. Not one. I blame early spring. I was feeling burned out. So, reluctantly I gave myself permission to go on a field trip. It was 10AM on a Tuesday — very much out of the norm for ABD.

I grabbed my sketchbook and headed down to the local aquarium. It’s an amazing place and their slogan is “Cheaper than a therapist!” Okay it’s not, but it should be.

I lucked out — no screaming kids. For the next couple of hours, I roamed the exhibits, sketched out various creatures that caught my eye and generally tried not to look like the creepy bearded guy by himself. It was a great afternoon and very relaxing.

Here’s some scans from my sketchbook:

aquarium sketches

Fast forward: a few weeks later when I was looking back through my drawings all these ideas just started flowing. I scanned in my drawings and made a short illustrated series for fun.

colored sketches of fish and an eel

colored sketches of fish and a jellyfish

colored sketches of fish

Then a few days after that, I ran out of business cards. Time was short so I grabbed my fishy friends and turned them into some new business cards. Take a look:

andrew barton business card

blue fish with one red fish

side of card

The moral of the story: sometimes it’s okay to give yourself permission to do something out of the ordinary. You never know what kind of creative ideas a little “me time” will spark. Try that on your boss and let me know how it goes.

Have a great week,

sig

PS – I really want to do some creative work for the Aquarium so if you’re reading this, SC Aquarium, swipe right.

Hatman Direct Mailer

Every year I mail out a New Year’s Card. It’s one of my favorite annual projects. Check out previous year’s designs here and here.

For 2017, I wanted to take it to the next level. I also wanted to tie the theme back to Charleston history. At some point during the brainstorming process, my fascination with the lapel pin craze and the Charleston Hatman coalesced into an idea that I was really excited about.

I was riding high until the realization that this project would be double or triple my budget. By this time, I was emotionally attached to my hatman mailer so I reached out to some partners to collaborate. Kimberly Hopkins from RR Donnelly printed the mailer and Michelle Harris from Karst Promo handled the enamel lapel pin. We all serve similar customers and used this opportunity for cross promotion. It was a win win… win.

Here’s how the project turned out:

direct mail front

happy new year design

charleston hatman history

hat man lapel pin

hatman lapel pin

BONUS – Watch a time-lapse video of the making of the Hatman vector artwork:

I was super pleased with the final product.

To summarize – need something printed? Call Kim. Need a customized lapel pin (or anything promotional)? Tell Michelle. Need some graphic design love? Nothing rhymes with Andrew. 😢 But here’s my number – 843.882.7627.

Have a great week,

sig

 

 

SEWE VIP Brochure

front page of brochure

front and back of direct mail brochure

gatefold design and insert

brochure flat inside

This brochure was designed to support VIP membership sales for the 2017 South Eastern Wildlife Exposition. The 5-panel mailer, printed on Sappi Flo 80lb Dull Cover paper, folds up and fits nicely into a #10 envelope. Inside the brochure hides a colorful invitation to a Gala event.

I’m particularly fond of the gated fold (center panels) with the avian artwork by this year’s featured artist, Ezra Tucker.

Have a great week,

sig

Inktober 2016

This year, I participated in an art challenge called Inktober. What’s Inktober?

Inktober is a time when artists draw an image a day using traditional inking tools (biro, marker, ink wash, etc.) throughout the month of October.

For my theme, I chose isometric architectural and landscape drawings. For more information on what that means, check out isometric projection. That’s pretty boring stuff, but you may recognize the isometric perspective from video games like Simcity 2000.

sim city

In keeping with inktober, I stuck with black ink and gray markers. Here’s a few examples of what I drew everyday:

isometric house

isometric charleston houseisometric castle house isometric mushroom house isometric icecream truck  isometric indian camp

After a few days, I put 9 of these “tiles” together to form a little scene.

neighborhood isometric

As we approached October 31st, I even created a Halloween themed scene.

isometric haunted house

At the end of the month, I finished 31 isometric ink drawings. It was a great challenge. It was a great fun! You can see them all on my instagram feed. You may need to scroll down a bit. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #inktober2016 to find all the other great artwork that was being created too.

One last thing, if you’re interested to see how these were created, I recorded some of the process. Check it out here:

Making of "the School". #screencapture #inktober2016

A post shared by Andrew Barton (@andrewbartondesign) on

 

Have a great week,

sig

 

 

The Dreaded Holiday Card

What’s worse than seeing Christmas decorations on sale before Halloween? Waiting until the last minute to work on your Holiday Card!

So what is your plan for some festive self-promotion over the holidays? A Thanksgiving card? A Christmas basket? Personally, I skip the Christmas, Hannuka, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia fiasco and send a New Years Card instead. I learned this little trick from my time living abroad in Japan in my 20’s. More on my most recent New Years Card later.

Holiday Card Ideas

Good news – you have lots of options. I’ve scoured the web and gathered a few examples of fresh Holiday promotional ideas.

holiday graphic vector

This hipster line art design is great for a trendy holiday card or email blast. (Source: Justin Burns)

hot chocolate

Or you could add some practical value by giving your customers an illustrated recipe. (Source: She Knows)

 

christmas graphic design

Or go minimalist with a simple design and outstanding typography. Bonus points if you get this printed on letterpress. (Source: Jay Roberts)

Or Tell a Story

For the 2016 New Year, I told a story and inspired my clients. I wanted my mailer to be unique and practical. To do this, I ordered custom-printed pocket sketchbooks from Scout Books.

happy new year card

The illustration on the front is an arrow head. Then I added a belly band with a short explanation about the arrowhead. It told a simple story about how I had achieved one of my life goals in the previous year: finding an arrowhead.

hand sewn envelope

Next, I engaged my master-seamstress mother-in-law to create some hand-sewn envelopes out of packaging paper. Finally, I addressed, stamped and mailed them. Done.

pen and envelope

I loved this project and so did my clients. It helped me stand out in a crowded marketplace by making a memorable and personal impression.

So what’s your plan? Don’t wait. Take some time this week and think about how you could take it to the next level. Ask yourself how you could really WOW your clients. Or better yet – let’s do it together. Give me a call – 843.882.7627

Have a good week,

sig