Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
A while back we were commissioned to design wedding invitations for a couple we know from San Francisco. They are extremely friendly, laid back people and were happy to give us solid art direction, color palettes, fonts, and even emailed us some examples of other designs they liked. You couldn’t ask for an easier project, especially since I spent eight years in San Francisco, a place that provides endless inspiration. Surprisingly, after days of hammering away at this new project, I just wasn’t excited about what I was producing. I cringe to share my failures, but here goes:
posterized Painted Ladies for a design project about San Francisco is as cliche as you can get.
I thought about executing this with letterpress so that I could more easily disguise my mediocre idea.
Vector traced photographs are frequently a symptom of Design Desperation Disorder.
Technically it all matched what the client was asking for, but my execution was frankly boring and lacking substance. I was starting to lose hope until one afternoon, while poking around flickr (with a tasty sandwich in my non-mouse hand) I came across a large cache of vintage luggage labels.
Like most designers, I love looking at old ephemera. My trusty digital dictionary defines ephemera as things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time; items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity.
This covers practically every piece of graphic design that is no longer functional: printed materials designed for events past, for people or entities that no longer exist, or old enough that they are simply long forgotten. Because the original context and purpose no longer exists, they are tiny pieces of pure visual art, some are boring, some are strange, some are just beautiful.
Luggage labels used to be quite common and not too long ago, a label-covered suitcase was a mark of a well traveled individual. It’s a real shame that nobody seems to use them anymore but I suppose they wouldn’t stick to the foul black suitcases everyone owns these days (I’ve ranted about this before). Luckily for us, someone thought to preserve a bunch of these lovely labels; I found these to be particularly striking:
It’s funny how I can bang my head against a project for DAYS and after looking at some random vintage graphic design for literally five minutes, I suddenly have my entire graphic design project practically completed in my brain. Here’s how it turned out:
Save The Date card (the most luggage label-like of the set)
two Invitation cards (outside and inside)
RSVP card (intended to evoke the idea of a travel snapshot)
an ode to the client’s curious little grey cat named Bruce
the complete set