Category Archives: Digital illustration

You’re right next door.

I work from my office in Western Mass, serving the Northampton area, but I work with clients from almost anywhere with an internet connection and a phone. That work includes web design, print communication, book design, visual identity development, business cards, interpretive lettering for book titling, signs and display, illustration – anything involving visual communication. Because of the internet and my technical background, I am able to communicate with printers, engravers, sign companies, web developers in your area to get the design onto a production path and in a way that is convenient to you.  Here are some examples of long distance work I’ve done in the past.

 

BluestemSignPhoto

Columbia, Missouri
This was perhaps one of the more difficult jobs on the production end from over a thousand miles away. After having created a visual identity for a crafts gallery, I was asked if I could design their sign utilizing an existing, odd shaped projecting sign frame left over from the 1950s. I worked closely with a local sign company and was able to design to fit the odd space exactly. Angles, curves, frame thicknesses, etc. all conspired to undermine the project, but with photos, careful measurements provided by the sign company and my familiarity with materials, we managed to get it right.

imagine

Palo Alto, California
This was the creation of a visual identity utilizing my interpretive lettering skills working with Adobe Illustrator. The project was art directed by a San Francisco design firm that hired me for the logotype development. The client was Imagine Foods, a natural foods producer famous for their Rice Dream products.

 

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Pretoria, South Africa
Wilmette, IL
This was a workbook and  cover design for the late Deborah Christesen in collaboration with  Julie Burnes Walker who together created the Oneness Model. This was a spiral bound workbook loaded with illustrations. At certain times we even managed conference calls between South Africa, Illinois and Massachusetts. Not so easy back in 2008.

 

IKKWeb1

West LaFayette, Indiana
Visual Identity,, website, blog and various print pieces such as business cards, stationery, etc. Iris Karas began this consulting practice not long after moving to indiana. Once the website was up and regular posts were being made to her blog, her business grew steadily.

 

 

BMCLig14

El Sobrante, California
This was a DVD cover design including front (right) back (left) and spine (middle). This was part of a series of DVDs produced by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen founder of the School for Body/Mind Centering. Bonnie travels the world giving workshops and overseeing the training programs she has developed for certification. The DVDs are another method of educational outreach.

 

 

 

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A new home for a rare book

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This is a closeup of the back of one of the two boxes Peter created from boards and leather

What I love most about my business is working with clients on projects i would have never conceived of.

Peter Geraty of Praxis Bindery in Easthampton, Mass. contacted me last January about a project he was working on building a leather bound box, two actually, that would house the plates and text from a rare photographic volume on oriental carpets crafted before 1800. One box would house the large photographic plates and the other the text. Both boxes would need to be roughly 20″ x 30″. The design concept of the two boxes was mostly that of Peter’s client, which Peter then would realize in boards, papers, leathers and hot stamping.

This required a lot of back and forth, fine tuning the design application. In order to facilitate that process, Peter asked If, given precise measurements, I could create a full size version of the design on the computer. Since Peter’s client lived out of state, this digital version of the design would allow both to better communicate and make adjustments to the design elements. I assured him that this was possible, so I left that meeting carrying a full size, hand executed, line drawing of the box exteriors marked with exact measurements in millimeters.

Using Adobe Illustrator, I was able to build a full size accurate version of the boxes showing all the design elements. Once he approved this line rendering, I was able to begin the work of making a full color simulation of how the boxes would appear when completed.

Leathers

Toward that end Peter gave me swatches of the dyed leathers he had chosen for the project along with hand lettered headlines that were to appear on the cover and spine. The latter was commissioned by the client from lettering artist Stephen Rapp referencing lettering from the time period in which the book had been published.

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From the swatches I was able to build large samples showing both the texture and color of the particular leathers that I could apply to the elements in the design. I was also able to isolate the individual letters in a word and fill those with a simulation of the palladium leaf that would be hot stamped into the leathers.

I applied  the color textures to the full size layout and then was able to position the palladium letters onto the leathers in such a way that I could easily adjust them as the design evolved. Because I was working at full size, Peter would also be able to take precise measurements regarding the positioning of the stamp dies.

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Above is the final file I created, front, back and spine of one of the two boxes. Below is a closeup showing the simulated texture

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Once completed and approved, Peter was able to email his client an accurate file showing how the design would be realized. After some back and forth and a few small revisions, full size prints were made so that the client could get a sense of scale and Peter could have an accurate reference tool as he began hand building the boxes.

One bonus aspect of this undertaking was that I was able to provide the die maker for the hot stamping with accurate files for the dies. Typically, when I do this kind of accurate simulation, the files can be used for actual production. In this instance, the production was all done by hand and with such expertise that I was awestruck by the finished product.

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Above is the finished cover of one box and below that the front cover of one box and the back cover of the other are seen

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This photo shows the finished box within which the plates or text of the rare volume would be housed.

 

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Book by its cover…

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A few years ago a client approached me about designing a cover for her self-published book which is now available as an ebook. The finished design was constructed with a variety of publishing options in mind and last year was adapted for ebook publication. Should the author choose to do a print version the design can easily be adjusted for that purpose.

In our initial meeting the author showed me some images she found on the internet that she thought might be appropriate to purchase for the cover, but I insisted on seeing the manuscript so I could get a real sense of what the book was about.

For a while we toyed around with a number of photographic images available online, but as is often the case, though there were millions of images to choose from, none was quite right on the mark. We discussed illustration, but that idea was nixed due to restrictions in the budget.

In our conversations I discovered that she had a good camera and that photography was an important part of her life, so I suggested that she try to set up her own photo shoot using props that were suggestive of the content of her book. I knew that if the resolution was high enough I might be able to work with the images to come up with something.

To her credit, she jumped at the idea and gave me a disk containing lots of high resolution images. From that I selected a few to work with and after some back and forth we settled on the following image.

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I then set to work to adapt that image to fit the atmosphere of her story and writing and what emerged was the image below. It is a good example of the kinds of thing that can happen working with Photoshop.

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We then spent a while exploring typographic options and in the end arrived at the cover pictured at the beginning of this post. We were both quite happy about the outcome and I was particularly pleased that we were able to incorporate one of her own photographs.

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