Signalnoise stickers: Public Service

Here is a small supplemental to yesterday’s sticker post. I’m still calling these things sticker concepts, but I’m not sure what the final destination may be. Won’t worry too much about that right now, got lots of these I want to do.

I’m calling these 2 part of the “public service” line. I was walking over to the office yesterday when I came across a sign that said Fire Fleet, and the idea for the design above popped into my head. Had to be done, followed closely by a design for the Signalnoise Crime Response unit. Look out you arsonist crooks, we’re watching!

Been uploading these to my Google+ for first peaks if you want the inside track.

Signalnoise sticker concepts

If you have been following my Google+ stream over the last few days you would have seen me posting some Signalnoise sticker concepts, at least that’s what I’ve been calling them. Shown here are 6 design I came up with over the weekend, exploring a different style and content. Just something different.

Even to me, the inspiration behind this content is a bit blurry. Kind of a mix of boy scouts, provincial park signage, old Lego toys, NASA mission patches (5th one down is a total NASA ape) and other stuff. Somehow very Canadian, even though I can’t put my finger on it. You know back in the 80s when you’d get a Fisher Price space guy and he’d have a cool little logo on his shoulder? A bit of that too, I guess, or how I remember it now even though I can’t find any reference. That make sense?

A little while back when I said I was refreshing the Signalnoise identity for use in new work, this is kind of what I was talking about. I’ve been doing fancy Photoshop stuff for a number of years now and I’ve been really feeling my attention shifting to content that’s more simple and pure. Vector-heavy stuff with more limited colors. I’ve been using Illustrator just as long as Photoshop (since ’95) but I feel that’s been quite hidden. Most of these only use colors plucked from my logo, plus black of course. Looking forward to experimenting with more shapes as well.

So, more of this to come? You bet your ass. I’m having way too much fun over here sketching these things in my Field Notes and throwing down some thick lines in Illustrator.

New Signalnoise poster: Creator

If you’ve been following my Google+ page you would have seen me talking about this new piece over the past week. I was asked by the kind people at Advanced Photoshop Magazine to develop a design in order to break it down into a tutorial for the newest issue, so I set about building a new poster I call Creator.

Here’s the thing. I have a very organic, or maybe ‘crazy’ is a better word, method of conceiving and developing my artwork. I start out with an idea or concept then start chasing that image through my head by way of vectors, stock photography, personal assets and all the other nuts and bolts of my process. The problem is after I create something I’ll need to break it down into 18 easy-to-follow steps so readers can make their own piece. I can’t even explain how difficult that is for me to do. I even had a few bad starts on the job, here are some initial concepts:

In the case of Creator, I made a stripped down version for publication in Advanced Photoshop, then after the deadline I continued working on it to realize my initial vision for the final. More details, lighting, color adjustments and all that. I tinkered with this for weeks after it was sent off and had a ball doing it.

On the left is the final image I sent off to Advanced Photoshop for the tutorial, and on the right is work-in-progress version of the poster as I kept working on it. You will see all kinds of little changes I was making as I went along, involving little details, color adjustments, highlights and all that. I even swapped out the gem for a Tron disc thing. Great fun.

So keep an eye out for my tutorial in issue 85 of Advanced Photoshop Magazine. It should be on newsstands in the next month or so.

The Dark Knight Rises poster

This poster for The Dark Knight Rises made the rounds online yesterday, really caught my attention. I was pretty impressed with the run of posters The Dark Knight spawned a couple of years ago and it looks like they’re keeping a similar vibe going for the new movie.

Really dig this one. The buildings forming the Bat symbol in the negative space looks real smooth and smart, nothing clumsy going on here. It’s not too often I talk about new movie posters here on the blog, but I felt this one deserved a bit of time. Not much more to say then that. Well done, Wayne Industries!

The Dartmouth Clothing Co.

Throw this one into the “good people doing good work” file. At the beginning of all my broadcasts you will hear me say something like “Coming at you live from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.” Well, that’s where I live. We are a rough and tumble little crew holding down the shores of Dartmouth. A proud crew, who may or may not carry switchblades.

Well, allow me to introduce you to the small but mighty Dartmouth Clothing Co. Owned, operated, built, muscled and chiseled by my mohawked pal Eric Miller. He works his ass off on his designs, screen-prints all of these shirts in his basement by hand, then packs and ships everything on his own. This is homegrown, people. This is where it’s at. Brute force Eric. Not to be messed with.

There are 2 reasons why Eric and his Dartmouth Clothing Co. are landing on the blog. First off, Signalnoise supports this guy and what he’s doing. All on his own, just getting it done in 1-color awesomeness. Secondly, Eric and I had a meeting a little while back about a team-up, which I’m really excited about. Dartmouth Clothing Co. vs. Signalnoise. Designs are flowing and I’m excited to see these things on shirts. More details to come, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, swing over to the Dartmouth Clothing Co. website, visit the online store and drop Eric a line on Twitter.

Fun fact: Gottigen is a street here in Halifax, which is why that pistol design is so damn awesome. If you’re from here, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

Signalnoise on Google+

I’m a really hesitant guy to jump on board any new “community-based whatever” on the web these days. I’m cautious about spreading myself too thin, having stagnant accounts all over the place, and just a general need to have my work centralized. It’s all about housekeeping around here, I like simplicity.

However, when Google recently launched it’s Google+ platform, I decided to give this new thing a shot. I was generously hooked up with an invitation by my pal Fabio Sasso and was off to the races. Before plugging it on the blog I wanted to take a week and experiment with it. Launch a few previews, set up my contacts, just to see how the vibe was on this new sharing platform. Have to say, I’m rather pleased. Even added it to the top-right corner of the site for safe keeping.

So, if you are one of those Plusers, swing by the James White Google+ and have a look. There might even be a Signalnoise hang-out in the near future. And why not say hello to these fine folks as well:

Shelby White
Fabio Sasso
Matt W. Moore
Veerle Pieters
Pete Harrison
Justin Maller
Chuck Anderson
Tom Muller
Peter Jaworoski
Mark Weaver

Now, the last thing I want to do is offer up a review of Google+. I suck at dissecting the ins and outs of usability so I’m not even going to attempt to sound smart in that area. Plus, there are plenty of opinions already floating around as to why Google+ is good/bad. But as a creative guy with a bunch of nice online pals and connections, and who is looking for a Facebook alternative, Google+ ain’t too shabby. Looks orderly, stuff is clean, it’s simple with all kinds of subtle user-friendly features. I dig it.

Will it crush Facebook? Nobody is a prophet, man. Just see for yourself.

Toronto Blue Jays logo: 1977 – 1996

Here’s one for the proud Canadians. When growing up in the 80s I was inevitably into baseball. And being from Canada you had the choice of 2 teams unless you decided to be a jerk and cheer for an American team. That was a joke, simmer down. Ha!

Along with most of the kids, my favorite team was the mighty Toronto Blue Jays. I cheered my ass off for the boys in blue, and even got to see them win back-to-back World Series in ’92 and ’93. When Joe Carter hit that 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to win the Series in 1993 you could hear our whole country scream. What a wild night.

But I digress. This post is for that Jays logo above. Created the year I was born and lasted throughout my childhood, to me, this is the one and only identity the Blue Jays will ever need. They redesigned the logo 2 or 3 times over the last 15 years, none of which can possibly hold a candle to this one. Simple, elegant, and comprised of pretty basic shapes. Prints beautifully and looks good from afar. You can’t beat that. The current logo doesn’t even have a maple leaf in there. For shame.

So this one is for you, Jays logo of old. Canada will always love you.

Backburner: Heatwave album cover

Here’s one for Canada. I was asked by my good pal Sean “Wordburglar” Jordan to design a cover for the upcoming album by Canadian hip-hop crew Backburner. I always said that designing stuff to help friends’ projects is always the most fulfilling and this one was no exception. SJ sent me over a little brief of what the cover might entail and I got to work.

I had a lot of fun working on this one. The album is called Heatwave and needed to obviously bring the heat. Fire, sun, desert, a hyena and a giant burner to set the stage. Loads of orange. Huge orange. When it comes to the palette, working with orange in Photoshop is super versatile and you can really play with some nice reds and yellows in there.

I wish I could name everyone in the Backburner crew, but there are a million guys in there representing different parts of Canada. Me and SJ are holding down the Halifax turf. So watch for this one, gang. Canadian talent, not to be messed with.