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22 August, 2010 / billibopz

Corporate design

For my most recent unit of work at college, I was required to research corporate identity, and how brands use corporate style guides. They communicate specific details to be used throughout the design of future marketing and communications materials. The whole point of a style guide is to create an image for a brand, then put rules into place to keep the image continuous and consistent in future.

For my own style guide, I was lucky enough to be able to use Bliss Industries as my example company. They are a Gold Coast based hair & beauty team for whom I designed the company logo recently. I put my document together in Adobe InDesign. It totalled twenty pages, and outlined many aspects from use of the company logo, to the imagery which can and can’t be used. The layout was consistent throughout and I was really pleased with the outcome. I think it is definitely up there with the best work I have produced.

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You can check out Bliss Industries and their work on these links:
Bliss Industries website
Bliss Industries official Facebook page

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2 August, 2010 / billibopz

Design Inspiration: Exploitation Movie Posters

Some of the greatest and most innovative design work I find comes from posters. Photographic or illustrative, typography based, block colours and simple shapes? There are so many ways to go about putting your message across in this medium. It’s an area you can always research and take inspiration from.

I wanted to take this post to delve into the world of the exploitation/B-movie poster. Whilst in Brisbane some time ago, I was in a shop with the sole purpose to find a book containing these types of film posters. Low and behold, on the top shelf in one shop I found the gem to the left. ‘Film Posters: Exploitation’, edited by Tony Nourmand & Graham Marsh, features a history of the B-movie poster and the different categories that were exploited. It is a fantastic collection of images and poster designs.

Exploitation films have been in production since the 1920s. They are low-budget movies, usually based around matters such as sex, violence, drug use, racial conflict and gore. They became popular in the 1960s because of their often hard-hitting subjects, and criticism was welcomed by the producers as a form of free publicity. Being low-budget productions, the films themselves may not have always produced the goods. However, the publicity and the often misleading posters and materials drew crowds and a lot of the films now have cult followings.

I find these posters so fascinating because of the fact that they were often better than the movie they were designed to promote. Exciting images of death and gore coupled with some hilarious catch-lines.

  • “Pretty Sally Mae died a very unnatural death.. but the worst hasn’t happened to her yet!”
  • “Murder.. at 120 miles per hour!!”
  • “It’s a kook’s tour of motorcycle mayhem, nude beach parties, LSD orgies. All the things that make life worthwhile.”

If you want to check out some of these great pieces of design history, there is a website that archives movie posters from 1910 to the modern-day; alphabetized and categorised for easy browsing. You can visit the site by clicking here (Wrong Side of the Art).

So this week, feeling inspired, I embarked on a personal project to design a movie poster in this style; as tacky and cheesy as possible. I chose a zombie movie, and titled it ‘Grave Danger!’. It was great fun choosing the typographical aspects of the piece, and combining them with simple imagery. My main focus was to produce a poster that could be printed as cheaply as possible, using only red and black as the colours. To finish off the piece, I added a worn paper texture to the background, over-layed folds and crease marks, and added imperfections such as ink splatter and blurred text. The movie still image is from an actual film and is just used here as an example.
This is my final design:

I hope you all enjoyed the insight into one of my favourite sources of design inspiration. Leave me a comment below and let me know some of your favourite movie/music posters. You can buy the book mentioned above at Amazon here. Until next time.

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30 July, 2010 / billibopz

Package this.

Another week, another deadline passed. My packaging design unit is out of the way, so I thought I would do a quick update and share what came of it. The unit brief specified that I was to choose an existing piece of packaging and create a new design for it.
In light of that, the first task was to man the trolleys and head on down the aisles of Woolworths to find packaging in dire need of attention; a simple task in theory, but not so much in practice. The thing with supermarkets is, available products need to be carefully selected. A customer is not going to come in and buy something with a terrible design or a horrendous colour scheme; they will most likely opt for a competitor’s product instead. So why doesn’t the supermarket stock up on more of what is selling, and get rid of what isn’t. Shelf space is very valuable; if the product isn’t up to scratch, I can’t see it being stocked in the first place. Hence my issue.

Eventually I came across an instant noodle snack by Indomie, an Indonesian product. You can see the current packaging here (Wikipedia). There are a few issues I brought up with regards to the current design:

  • I did not find the image very appetising; the yolk on the egg is a very strange colour.
  • The text elements look like they were placed on by means of ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’.
  • The packaging serves no functionality in preparation or serving of the final product.

You can see my final design below. I created a net with fold in corners so the final box would be able to hold water. I also added a small slot on one side for drainage. These two changes meant that the package was now suitable for preparation and serving of the product. An instant snack should have no need for crockery.
The overall design was dulled down with the absence of photographic elements. Simple shapes provide the imagery: a smiling face to represent Asian character design, and yellow waves to represent the noodles themselves. In terms of colour, I used red and white (Indonesian flag), and yellow (noodles).

There you have it, my design update for this week. I will hopefully have another post tomorrow to carry on the Fri/Sat theme, and If you have any feedback to this or past work, please leave me a comment below.

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24 July, 2010 / billibopz

My top five albums everyone should own.

Finally here it is! A list, set in stone, of some of my favourite albums. I have promised it for so long, but picking a top albums list is such an arduous task (for myself anyway). So before we get the countdown underway, some background information to the thought process involved. The choices are in no way based on sales and public reception, but rather my own personal experience and what the albums themselves mean to me. So many great memories through my teenage years have a certain song or album to accompany them, whether it be driving through Europe on family holidays listening to the Eagles, or singing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Y Control’ hunched over a toilet, pausing every so often to be sick. These are moments that will stay with me forever.
Lets get this show on the road.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell

There are so many fond memories here. I had a group of good friends back when this album came out. We did everything together, in school and out, but people and situations change and these days I barely speak to them anymore. Some days I would give anything to go back to this time, not a care in the world, your only worry being underage and not knowing how you’ll be getting beer for the night ahead.
We saw the YYYs live twice back then, the first for their UK Fever to Tell tour. In terms of live shows, the first was probably up there with the best. Karen O was on absolute form, at one point shoving a baguette down her top and handing pieces out to the crowd (a guy we knew actually caught a piece), and storming out on stage for the encore wearing a skin tight silver superhero costume, complete with red cape. I have never felt such emotion at a gig as when they played ‘Maps’, everyone in the crowd stopped, threw up their hands and swayed, singing along with the band.
In terms of the album itself, it is the only collection of music I have and ever will label ‘New York Art Rock’ – as they just don’t fit into any generic genre. The music is fast paced, trashy and punk-inspired for the most part, but they still manage to put together an emotional masterpiece when required. Stand out tracks include ‘Date With the Night’, ‘Tick’, ‘Pin’, ‘Y Control’, and crowd favourite ‘Maps’. Later material from the band just doesn’t quite stack up to this, I feel they have lost part of their image and sound, or maybe I just grew up a bit, but this album with always hold dear and close to my heart.

. . . .

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – B.R.M.C.

Self released in 1999, and re-released by Virgin in 2001, BRMC is possibly one of the best debut albums ever produced. In fact, Black Rebel are probably the first band I came across who I really thought ‘There is no way they can live up to this’, and you know what, I really don’t think they did. I am sorry to say it but this album is just so good that none of their follow up material even compared.
Straight from the get-go, with ‘Love Burns’ and ‘Red Eyes and Tears’ as the opening tracks, followed by single ‘Whatever Happened to my Rock & Roll? (Punk Song)’, the album is crammed full of instant classics. It is a euphoric adventure, an album to be played in the background of normal life granting mere existence a deeper meaning. Some of my greatest gaming memories come from playing the ‘Need for Speed: Underground’ series whilst listening to this album. To this day, I will still go for a drive at night time and play these superb tracks.
I can pick one absolute stand out track, and that would be ‘Rifles’, to me one of the greatest songs ever written. It is such a dark and almost hypnotic experience, with mesmerising lyrics and sinister feeling. Overall, an absolutely fantastic album, and I think that anyone else who likes the band would hold this high up there in their top albums too.

. . . .

The Libertines – Up the Bracket

Where to start with this album? I have never known a band to start such a legacy as the Libertines did when ‘Up the Bracket’ was released. I remember that howl at the start of title-track ‘Up the Bracket’ when I first saw the music video on Zane Lowe’s ‘Gonzo’ (MTV2). They were like nothing I had ever heard before. A quintessentially British sound, coupled with some of the best song writing I think I will ever know of. I still remember a very important quote from the band early on, that ‘everyone can be a Libertine’. I think this is how the revolution began. Hands up if you ever bought one of the red militant jackets? I know I’m guilty.
To be a part of the Libertines adventure was to be strapped to a roller coaster ride. One day you would be singing their praises, the next you would hear about the latest spat in NME magazine. Matters that usually wouldn’t concern you, the fan, but we really were a part of the band. Maybe that is how they became such a national treasure, that no matter how much trouble they caused, they were still loved by a fan base of millions.
I remember an interview with Johnny Borrell (Razorlight) stating “I’m the greatest songwriter of my generation. Ask me in ten years about the Libertines”. Yet I never did hear Razorlight come up with song writing genius like the Libertines ever did. “You’re like a journalist, how you can cut and paste and twist”. The sing-along values of ‘The Boy Looked at Johnny’, or the way we can all sit back and relate to the musings of ‘The Good Old Days’, a time we will always remember but never get back.
Just as BRMC though, I think this was the Libertines greatest work, and since then they have been nothing to compare by. A prime example of how band tensions and the way of life can get in the way of the music. I will forever cherish my early teens however, spent listening to these songs in good company with friends. An album now passed but never forgotten.

. . . .

Radiohead – The Bends

What would an album countdown be worth if it didn’t include a piece by Radiohead, probably the world’s greatest band. I know what many of you may be thinking, “The Bends?”. ‘OK Computer’ regularly dominates countdowns, at one point even winning the ‘100 Greatest Albums of All Time’ (Channel 4), but ‘The Bends’ holds so much more than that to me. It was the beginning of something special, a revolution, and the start of a friendship for me that will never fade. I had always heard Radiohead in the past, but again, was never ‘twisted’ (as we would now call it) and had never invested in their music. At maybe the age of 13, I took a trip out into town with a relatively new, and soon to be best, friend. It was on this day the suggestion came about that I purchase the album, and thus it began. A waterfall of albums/EPs/singles collections that still carries on to this day. We have been through the best of times, and the worst, but the music has always been there.
Musical geniuses, and masters of songwriting, the Radiohead back-catalogue is so diverse it is sometimes hard to comprehend. However, ‘The Bends’ really is the start of a musical revolution. It is the point that Radiohead really settled down, started to produce the sound they wanted to hear, and make way for their upcoming years of success. The album is more of the rock & roll side of the band, before the experimental stages began.
‘The Bends’ is one of the most memorable albums you will ever hear. It is within a small category including works such as Oasis’s ‘What’s the Story?’ and the Pixies’ ‘Doolittle’, were these are the albums that you had already heard every song on them. Every track is a stand out, from title song ‘The Bends’, crunching single ‘Just’ (did we ever figure out what exactly the video was about? “Because standing up was so last season!”), and forever classic ‘Street Spirit’, this album will forever be held in the highest regard by any Radiohead fan. I hope their success only continues in the future.

. . . .

Jeff Buckley – Grace

It is definitely rare these days to come across an artist such as the likes of Jeff Buckley. A soaring talent, carelessly taken away at the start of much bigger things to come. His memory still held dear, and forever a worldwide musical treasure. Hailing from a musical family, it was almost as if the talent was birthed into his blood. Jeff was one with his music, it was what he enjoyed and what he wanted to do. Whether sharing some of his early inspiration through Nusrat Fatteh Ali Khan, or spreading the word of his own incredible original works, there was always no doubt that Jeff was perhaps born to perform like this.
I don’t think that one single artist has touched my life in such a way as Jeff Buckley. No matter how many times I hear his work, I will still get shivers through my body when a song comes on the radio. His voice is perfection, a musical journey almost so good it is chilling. From the soft sounds of ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’ (perhaps my favourite track), his classic rendition of ‘Hallelujah’, and the rock & roll angst of ‘Eternal Life’, there is no doubting the passion put into each and every note, every word uttered.
A receiver of mixed reviews, a poor sales record upon release, and not being labelled with it’s current status until after Jeff’s untimely passing, the album will forever be held now as one of those legendary releases, never to be outdone. I doubt we will ever see an artist with such finesse, such a passion for their work, and that unbelievable voice, ever again. Taken from the world too soon, snatched up before a whirlwind of success took off. However, had Jeff still been here today, would he have gained such a cult status? Would his musical talent be regarded as so heavenly if he still walked the earth this day? All valid points, and I think it is just part of the charm of the situation. That such an incredible artist with so much to offer was never given the chance to continue and spread his passion for music. Ask me in ten years what I consider to be the best album of all time, and I feel I will still tell you “Grace’. Be it for the incredible talent, or the chilling backstory, but I am sure that the memory of Jeff Buckley and his musical legacy will live on worldwide for years to come.

. . . .

Close, but not quite – Albums that didn’t make it

I hope you have all enjoyed this insight into my thoughts on music. It is a subject I hold close, with so many memories tied to the matter. Further to this post, I want to know what you consider to be your ‘Top 5 Albums’, the memories you hold with these, or any thoughts on my selections. Please post a comment below and let me know, you may feature in a future post.

As always, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the latest instalment, I certainly enjoyed writing it. See you all again soon, in the meantime be sure to check out these links:

Rob’s Blog <- Top 10 DVD’s
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23 July, 2010 / billibopz

Turn the page.

Hello everyone, sorry it has been so long since my last post! It has been a bit hectic recently, you might even say life changing, but as a great philosopher (or my manager) once said: “A change is as good as a holiday”.
Turn the page on the day and walk away.
The past two weeks have been all over the place. Stocktake finally loomed down upon us in work, I said goodbye to a good friend, and deadline after deadline ticks over at college. They don’t let up.

Seriously, if you enjoy stocktake you must be wrong in the head. It’s times like that I would love to work in a smaller store, but at the same time feel sorry for people working at David Jones and appreciate where I am. It is a multi-week build up of anticipation for a night that will either go extremely well, or completely do you over. We were lucky to get the first option, but still had to endure a gruelling 15 hour work day. I would not mind at all if I was doing 15 hours a day in a Graphic Design position, but in retail it’s just plain wrong.

A bit of an update coming at you right now. One of my recent units of work required the creation of an advertising campaign to promote the Gold Coast to a local, national, and international audience. As part of the work, I had to put together a series of photographs to enhance and promote the Gold Coast lifestyle, and also compile a script and storyboard for a 30 second advertising campaign.
For the presentation and conclusion to my unit, I created a booklet housing all of my research and development, put together a composition for my photographs which could be used as a print based campaign, and digitally rendered my hand drawn storyboard. Click the image below to see a sample of my final design!

As ever, thanks for reading! Keep an eye out on Facebook/Twitter for updates to future posts. In the meantime check out these links below:

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Currently listening: The Doors – Waiting for the Sun

30 April, 2010 / billibopz

Dead Tech.

I didn’t think I would ever crash a Mac, yet last night it happened. It’s funny how technological issues seem to wait until absolutely the worst moment to pop up and cause grief. Deadline day, a PDF booklet to finish, files to copy for hand in, and files to copy for the next units. It may have been my own fault, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a Mac to handle. The whole thing just froze. It’s a quarter of an hour after college has closed, and I’m sat in the dark alone.
Anyway, I suppose one problem in 18 months of using Mac isn’t too bad compared to the one-problem-an-hour I used to get with PC’s.

In product news tonight, I managed to get hold of a pair of Converse Jack Purcell boat shoes. I love the design, traditional boat shoe but quite a casual canvas style, and comfortable too as expected under the Purcell name. Click the image below for a closer look:

So it looks as though I may be back on track for 2-3 blog posts a week. I am still looking into my album countdown, and hoping to finish it up soon after deciding on a layout for the piece.
Have any of you ever tried to come up with a top albums/movies countdown? I struggle, but for the last five or six years it’s felt like something I need to do. It’s going to be a huge relief to have it finalised! I don’t know how I sleep at night…

Hope you are all enjoying the start to the weekend. Speak to you soon.

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Rob’s Blog <- BRMC live review

27 April, 2010 / billibopz

Artist Insight: Evan Hecox

I know I said I would try to post at least three times a week, but I am here two weeks later with nothing to show for it. Empty promises. I am actually starting to work on a big post that should hopefully be up soon.

Today, I just wanted to share with you a huge source of inspiration for myself through my Graphic Design education, Evan Hecox. I first noticed Evan as he works in collaboration with Chocolate skateboards, and a few years back he was the featured artist/guest editor for Monster Children magazine. He is an incredible illustrator/graphic artist, and his work pretty much speaks for itself. Check out some of his work below:


Now anybody who knows me personally, would probably know my love of typography. I remember the days of sitting in a Graphic Design class in college when we first started out, and Rachel, our teacher at the time, would tell us to “start looking into typography because it is one of the most important parts of your work”. ‘Looking into typography’ for most of us was copying the name of our brand/product and pasting it twenty times using a different font for each. I know I’m guilty for it.

Evan Hecox was the artist who first sparked my love of type and letterforms. His style of lettering is amongst the best I have ever seen; a style I have even mimicked in my own work in the past. These days I still dabble with handwritten typefaces. That sense of ‘Nobody else has this typestyle’ when you’re finished is pretty incredible. This is a sample of Evan’s lettering work:


That’s it for today, I just wanted to share some more inspiration with you all. A sneak peek as to what is coming up soon, I am sat with a three-page list of what I consider to be the greatest albums of all time, trying to narrow it down.
We shall see.

Currently listening: Tool – Lateralus
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11 April, 2010 / billibopz

Pudding.

It’s been a bit of a special day. It marked the first time in almost two years, that I have sat down to traditional British chippy food. Pudding, chips, curry sauce, and Irn Bru. I have been missing out, and can’t wait to get back now. The place is called ‘Chumley Warners’, and is situated in Birkdale, just at the bottom of Moreton Bay. I don’t think I have ever seen so many English families in one place over here! You can check out their website here.
Just up from the chippy is a great little shop selling typical English items. From football merchandise, to Fairy liquid, they had a great selection. I’ve ended up with Bourbon creams, spearmint Polo’s, and one thing I have missed and never expected to see; Thornton’s Original Special Toffee. It’s a great little area to visit if you have a spare night.

In personal design news today, I just wanted to share the Fernando Torres marker rendering I produced earlier this week. It seems like a fitting time after the fantastic performance this week against Benfica. Just click the image for the full view:

An advertising campaign which I haven’t seen for a while was brought up in conversation this week. It is a Saatchi & Saatchi project, ‘Verbal abuse can be just as horrific’. A truly powerful piece of advertising, I was left speechless after seeing it for the first time. One day I hope to produce something as hard hitting. Just click the images below for the full versions:

On another note, I have decided to try something new with this blogging lark. I really want to try and make it a bi-daily thing. I will be doing general blog posts, my own Graphic Design, and a new addition (like above) where I share Graphic Design that has inspired me in some way. I always find it interesting discussing work and discovering new things. I’d like to keep these categories as separate posts, and ordered, for ease of browsing.
Just for now, I’m going to say Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and a possible extra post over the weekend. But don’t hold your breath!
See you all on Monday.

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5 April, 2010 / billibopz

Eggs & Little Red Men

Hope everyone had a good weekend. I’m glad Sunday is over. I don’t think I have ever dealt with so many stupid questions in one day. Our sale is clearly stated on the signs, please just take a minute to understand it! The wonders of working in retail I suppose. Easter eggs make it all better.

So, as promised, I cracked on with character design tonight, and managed to get my four images finalised. I’m pretty pleased with the result. He’s looking better than ever, I’ll have to look for a name soon. Here are the final designs (click for a larger version):

I’m not sure what is next on the agenda. It’s now midnight so I don’t really care either.
Don’t eat too much chocolate! Sickly stuff. Have to go now, ‘Kickstart My Heart’ just came on. Enjoy your night, and I’ll speak to you soon.
In the meantime, check out Rob’s Blog, and find me on Twitter.

3 April, 2010 / billibopz

O, Yeah!

First off, Happy Easter to everyone. I thought I’d hit the shops today to try and pick up a bargain in the sales. Turns out, not everyone puts an Easter weekend sale on. However, I did stumble across the ‘O, Yeah!’ Aerosmith Best Of collection, and picked it up on the cheap. I remember listening to this album in college, and have been meaning to add some Aerosmith to the CD collection for quite some time. Definitely worth picking up a copy.

In Design news this week, I have been carrying on with the illustration unit of work. Not being naturally inclined to illustrating, it’s taken a bit of time to really sit down and get into it, but things are turning out all right so far.
This first image is a marker rendering of a stainless steel kettle. I was a bit worried considering how streaky the marking came out, but it turns out that there is no way around it:

The main part of the unit is a little bit of character design. This little guy has no name, but I have been drawing him for nine years. Although the character is quite a simple idea, I have some different expressions and situations I am hoping to build on. The difficult part is drawing him to a larger scale. The sketchy style is great when the drawing is 3cm tall, but at A5 it does not work as well:

I am hoping to have this unit finished tomorrow night, so I may post the final designs then.
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