Vintage Film and Television Trading Cards

Back in the 70’s and 80’s, there seemed to be a set of trading cards for every mildly successful TV show and movie. Even the cringeworthy Mork & Mindy had trading cards. Each pack usually included ten cards and a cracked piece of petrified chewing gum, which mostly served to make the cards smell good. No kid is his right mind dared to chew it.

Looking at these things for the first time in years is hilarious, the registration was guaranteed to be way off on every card, you could play connect the dots with the halftone patterns, and the cards weren’t trimmed straight. But that’s what makes them so awesome. All these imperfections added up to whole pile of personality in every card. You can’t find that today, everything is printed so perfectly that there isn’t any discernible difference from card to card. I can remember getting doubles or triples of the same cards back then, but each one was printed differently. Each one had it’s own unique quirks…loved that stuff.

Primarily for me, the E.T. and The Empire Strikes Back cards were what I was most into back then. I posted a collection of ‘Empire’ cards over on Swivelarms, give them a look if you’re interested in some Hoth-sized adventure.

Looking back now, I realize there were so many good sets of cards ( the Superman the Movie and Star Trek the Motion Picture cards were truly wicked ) that I wish I had collected more of them. At the same time, however, I’m glad that I can discover them now as if they were new thanks to Flickr users who upload gobs of this stuff.

Nothing can quite compare to the rush of excitement I got as a kid seeing this stuff for the first time, but it’s important to me as a creative person to remember how that feels, and to try to find ways to experience it still.

Birth of the Signalnoise logo

Started playing with the spectrum, probably sampled from the Commodore 64 logo.

Overlapped those suckers to see what other tones the shapes produced.

Circles are cooler. Less aggressive.

No wait, how about some cubes with different darknesses? Might look cool.

What if the cube sides were different colours. That's fun. Maybe too "kid's room".

What if the cubes were ripped up and unfolded. That's weird.

Back to basics. Lets try some overlapping squares in a radial layout.

Skew that thing, all modern and whatever. Skewing is hip, right?

Still liked those overlapping circles from before. Try those in the radial layout.

Discovered the overlapping corners on the squares above make nice little leaf shapes. Cool!

Started combining some of these little experiments, which resulted in the first version of my rainbow sun.

I then simplified my previous logo last year into the current version.

I was hanging out with my buddy Nathan the other day who I actually worked with at an agency a few years ago. He told me he was rooting around some of my old files looking for something and came across a big Illustrator file full of logo experiments. Now, these experiments were actually for a client at the time but what I was building and exploring was axed before it was even shown. Bummer, right?

But everything happens for a reason. I liked the progression and experiments so much that I ended up using them directly to develop the current Signalnoise logo. When people in the office weren’t looking, I’d open that AI file to play with it and eventually landed on my rainbow sun. Funny how that happens, huh?

So, shown here for the first time are the little steps and experiments I noodled around with. Very different directions that all led to my final. A big thanks to Nathan for sending this file over, I hadn’t seen it in years.

Unreleased Signalnoise posters on eBay

In extremely limited supply, I’ve made available 1 copy of some of my recent posters on eBay. These posters are from my personal small print run (of 2) and are now up for bidding for those who are interested in owning a copy. All are signed and numbered. I’ll be shipping them out personally.

You have 5 days to jump in on the action. Swing over to the Signalnoise eBay account now to check out the wares.

UPDATE: The bidding period has ended. Thanks everyone!

WMCFest 2012 Wrap-up

Hanging with Johnny Cupcakes and Chuck Anderson!

The Snack Pack! Going bananas with Johnny and Friends Of Type.

The one and only Matt Stevens! So happy, lookit that guy.

Just got back from an awesome trip down to Cleveland, Ohio to attend and speak at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. I’ve heard a lot about this event over the past couple of years and was excited to check out what all the buzz was about. Was so happy to get an invitation to take the stage.

What a fantastic time. Great auditorium to speak in and a nice big music venue right across the street where everyone gathered to hang out after the days speakers. So here is a rapid fire, 20-point machine gun list of my experiences and memories from the big trip. Hit it.

1. Drew a Ninja Turtle on the plane.
2. Crazy Hyatt hotel in Cleveland looked like the interior of a cruise ship. Ritzy.
3. Accidentally/Hilariously walked into the Scottish equivalent of a Hooters. Hello Tilted Kilt ladies!
4. Ran into Nebraska’s own Nick Evans on a deserted street. Laughter commenced.
5. Caught up with the Georgia titan Mike Jones! What a gentleman. What a beard.
6. Beer folies – accidentally called the “PBR” a “BRP”. Burp. Was laughed at.
7. “A really cool hat.” If you were there, you know what I’m talking about.
8. Mad hangouts with Chuck Anderson and Matt Stevens. Many topics covered. Many laughs had.
9. “The casino gotta great spread.” was the concierge’s breakfast suggestion to Chuck. Amazing.
10. Saw Nate Utesch destroy the stage. Talked about his Ferocious Quarterly. MAD talent.
11. Tad Carpenter was on fire. Hilarious guy. Amazing work. Killer talk. Great hand-shaker.
12. Great (first time) talk by Rachael Novak. Side hustle! Really dig her work.
13. Saw Chuck sweat like a moose onstage. An awesome and glistening presentation.
14. Johnny Cupcakes told us his entire story mingled with advice and doodoo jokes. And cockroaches!
15. Went to famous Happy Dogs with Buffalo correspondent Paul Pants. 50 toppings?!
16. The Friends Of Type crew let me jump into their cab, then gave me a tote bag! Swell bunch.
17. Took the stage for my DESIGN RENEGADE talk. Awesome time, great crowd. Awkward laughs.
18. Watched Kate Bingaman Burt  set the stage ablaze! She’s one talented machine-gun. Wow.
19. Nerded-out with Johnny Cupcakes backstage. Talked about our childhood He-man collections.
20. Super fun WMCFest closing party, complete with a streaker. Yes, a streaker! With nudity!

I’m forgetting loads of stuff and people, but you all know who you are and it was more than a pleasure to meet you all. So many hands shook and so many laughs shared. A huge thanks to everyone who came out to see me speak, you packed the room from front to back and really made this lone Canadian feel welcome. You even laughed at my lame jokes. I’m in your debt, Cleveland.

Finally, a GIANT thanks to the guys responsible for bringing me down in such style and for putting on such a fantastic event, Jeff Finely and Joseph Hughes. The effort and care these guys out into WMCFest is unrivalled and it shows. Thanks so much, guys. You should be real proud to have brought together such a wonderful and creative hoard of people.

I’ll miss you, WMCFest!

Prince Charles Cinema movie posters

Here is an iPhone shot of the 3 printed posters I designed for screenings at the Prince Charles Cinema. Just picked these up today and the colours turned out great. These are digital prints on poster stock but the files were designed for screenprint, which is ultimately where I want them to end up. Nice thick stock and bold colours. But great to see these designs all in one place.

This is just the beginning as I’m already into designing a 4th poster for the PCC. Watch this space as I continue to finish and post the new ones.

A lot of people have been asking about purchasing the movie posters I’ve been designing, and even though they are not currently available I am working closely with my agent at Mystery Box as well as the Prince Charles Cinema to ensure everything is in place to offer these posters online. Lots of details and scrutiny, but we are certainly making some headway and I hope to have some more news in the coming weeks.

Thanks for the continued interest in this endeavour, gang. Truly appreciate it more than you know.

A few days out, Cleveland!

In  few short days I’ll be getting on a plane destined for Cleveland, Ohio to speak at the mighty Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Man, I can’t wait for this one, so many great speakers (intimidating line-up), colleagues and friends are piling into that venue for a kickass time. I’ve heard NOTHING but good reviews of this grassroots event and I can’t wait to get there and wreck up the joint up.

Holy crap, Chuck Anderson will be there. And Dan Cassaro. And Matt Stevens. Friends I’ve never met, or wedgied. Planning on doing both.

On top of actually getting onstage to do my DESIGN RENEGADE talk I’ll be packing a bunch of posters, stickers and other things to offer up at my merchtable following the presentation. Lots of stuff, be sure to check it out. Rare goodies in there. I’ll be onstage on Sunday, June 10 at 6:15pm in the Reinberger Auditorium. Sharing loads of work and stories. Possibility of lame jokes.

So if you’ll be attending WMCFest in a few days, I will see you there. Let’s do this, Cleveland!

MCA poster by Paul Panfalone

Check this one out. This memorial poster of MCA from the Beastie Boys was made by my pal and Signalnoise contributor Paul Panfalone down in Buffalo. He sent it to me this past weekend out of the blue, “Hey, here’s something I’ve been working on” he said. Promptly stopped me in my tracks. Paul said this portrait is based on MCA from the early 90s. Here is the original red version and a couple of colour variants.

Paul is efficient in both Photoshop and Illustrator but for the most part I’ve seen him work in Photoshop primarily. This departure into 100% vector is much the same as myself recently, exploring some new territory and techniques and basically getting out in the woods with very little reference points. I support that action, well done Paul. Probably your best work yet. Look at that shading and line work. Meticulous!

Be sure to swing over to Paul’s website Swivel Arms for more info on this piece and other stuff Paul is working on. And say hi on Twitter, he’s a nice guy. Likes good movies and toys and stuff.


What started as a little doodle yesterday turned into a full tilt poster design. This one caught me offguard but thought it would be a real fun one to dive into. Here is my third poster for the Prince Charles Cinema, this time for their screening of the some of my all-time favorite films, the mighty INDIANA JONES TRILOGY. The boys at the PCC didn’t even know this one was coming. Heh heh.

This was a bit of a strange undertaking since the screening is today and I started this poster last night. But the idea hit me so I just ran with it. Lots of fun. There’s a few relevant additions to the hieroglyphs if you look closely.

So if you’re over in London, get over to the Prince Charles Cinema ASAP to see these on the big screen. Believe me, I’d be there if that annoying ocean wasn’t in the way.