Happy Holidays from Signalnoise!

As of tomorrow I’ll be getting on the road to head to the parents place for the White Family Christmas celebration. Updates to the blog will be slow over the next week as I’m away, but I’ll still be on Twitter from time to time.

To all my friends, clients, new pals, arch-enemies, colleagues, agents and all in between  … wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday as we bring 2011 to a close. Have fun!

Sad Mac in Steve Jobs Commemorative NewsWeek

When Steve Jobs passed away on October 5th, like most designers I was watching my Twitter stream the entire evening. Parked in front of the computer watching tweets go by, dominated with news, stories and tributes to Jobs. I popped open Illustrator and created a little Sad Mac icon … my own little tribute. Nothing original, obviously, but my own little version.

I ended up sending the icon to Newsweek magazine which was used it in their Steve Jobs commemorative issue, which just landed on my doorstep. My little Mac sits at the center of the inside front cover, on full black. A perfect spot for the little tribute, now seen by people worldwide.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes in Halifax

• Jason Mewes and myself after the show. Photo by Chris Toms.

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The past 3 weeks have been an absolute blur. As you can see on the blog and Twitter I’m doing an awful lot of posting and jawing about Kevin Smith and everything that has been going on. This all started with that one Canadian tour poster I designed on a whim after seeing a tweet from Kevin asking Canadians to show any art for a potential tour poster. Being a fan and always trying to do things a bit differently, I set some time aside to design up something cool. Something fun.

Well, Kevin was all over it and I was contacted within hours by his troop. That little tour poster hit that mark, and the following week I was hired to design the Plus One Live II poster for a gig in London, England, working with Kevin directly on the goods. At the same time, a much larger project was thrown my way, he asked me to design 10 Jay and Bob posters … one for each Canadian province. Being a fan of his work and a proud Canadian, I can’t think of a better project to be taking on. So pumped. In production now.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes were in Halifax this past Monday for their Jay and Silent Bob Get Old show, and near the end of the show Kevin Smith gave a wonderful shout-out and told the story of the posters, how it all came together, and what we will be working on next (see MP3 above). He nails all the points, especially the part about doing what you love. Chasing those projects you truly want to do. That’s just a clip above, be sure to listen to the entire Halifax show.

This post isn’t meant to be self-serving. I want to tell the story as it’s evidence that you should be doing those personal projects, the things that mean a lot to you as an artist. It’s easy to get wrapped up in doing work for other people, but it will always be the stuff you do for yourself that shouts the loudest. You never know where these things might lead, and the only way to find out is to give it a shot. Build your own reality, man.

Thanks to Chris Toms for the photo above.

The New FITC Identity

I’m super excited to show my newest identity work, a logo re-design for my friends at the mighty FITC Events, who are going through some heavy changes and redefinement. Check out the full details right here.

I’ve been attending FITC events for the last 3 years, and have had the opportunity to speak twice in Toronto. I’ve gotten to know much of the people behind the event as well as friends whom I only see at FITC. I look forward to my annual trek to Toronto each year and I hope to attend the other events around the globe at some point.

While attending FITC Toronto 2010 in May of this year, I was approached by my pal Shawn Pucknell (the Grand Poobah of FITC) to develop the creative for the following year’s event, FITC Toronto 2012. I’ve spoken at FITC twice so far and being a huge fan of the event and the entire crew behind it, I jumped at the opportunity to work with my friends. Shawn gave me creative freedom to develop the bits and pieces they will be using to promote and showcase at the event next year. I started looking at everything including the FITC identity which, at the time, had no idea if it would be used or not.

Here are a couple of snips as I worked on the identity, but you can check out the full FITC Logo Process over on Web Design Wall. All kinds of behind-the-scenes images and babbling. Be sure to check it out.

I’m super proud to have been able to work with my pals at FITC, and I’ll see you all at FITC Toronto 2012 next April!

Welcome back Toronto Blue Jays!

So here’s the thing. I’m a Canadian boy and, growing up back in the 80s and 90s I was a die hard Toronto Blue Jays fan. From the classic line-up of Bell, Gruber and Moseby right up until they won back-to-back World Series’ in ’92 and ’93, I was cheering for my Jays. And you know what a big part of that was? The logo which they’ve used since ’77.

But in the late ’90s it seemed the norm to “re-brand” sports teams like nuts. It drove me crazy because so many of the classic logos were perfectly sound without need of a re-design AND all sports team logos started looking the same. Some kind of angry animal or whatever busting through a wall. No respect for the legacy of the team … just something the marketing people would say “looks cool”. Screw you.

My Jays were no different. In ’97 they revised the classic logo which made the Jay look over-weight, like he ate too many of them ballpark franks after the World Series wins. Then in 2003 … geez, I have no idea. A blue jay getting friendly with the Texas Rangers? A maple leaf tattoo on his “bicep”? Ugh.

And then in 2004, full-on generic angry blue jay logo complete with the beveled “Jays” hunk o’ turd. Zero reference to 27 years of the club’s history. Looks like every other logo across 3 sports in North America. Being a longtime fan and a designer, this was a disappointing reveal when it happened.

In all honesty, I lost track of my Jays in 2004 mostly because the identity of the team, to me, was totally stripped. The team I had loved was gone and replaced by … well, these guys. Yes, I understand players come and go as time goes on, but there was NOTHING familiar to me anymore. They even had black uniforms. Black uniforms on a team with BLUE in the name.

Why am I going on this tangent? To offer a nice contrast to what happened last week. The Toronto Blue Jays unveiled their new logo and uniforms and when I clicked the link to see, 7-year-old James cheered his ass off. After 14 years of seeing that other team playing the part of my Blue Jays, I was thrilled to see my guys come back. Kind of teared up, I’m sure you can see why.

There’s going to be people whining about the new type, or line thickness, or colours, or that face that they think the Blue Jays suck, but I don’t care. Keep it to yourself.

To whomever was in charge of pulling off the Blue Jays new identity, a huge high-five on this one. You brought them right back to when every kid in Canada was a Jays fan. Simplicity and respect will always win.

Signalnoise signing at Hal-Con 2011

Hey Atlantic Canada! I’ll be doing a signing this Saturday at Hal-Con 2011, Sci-Fi Fantasy and Comic Convention. In order to make this event special, I did a small 11 x 17 run of rare Signalnoise posters relating to movies and comics. All of the posters seen above will be available at the signing for a low $10 each, or 2 for $15. I’ll sign it up right there, and throw in some Signalnoise stickers and buttons.

None of these posters were previously available, and most will not be available again. Like I said, super low print run. You have to swing by the signing area at Hal-Con to scoop these. I’ll be signing 2pm to 3pm on Saturday afternoon but be sure to get there early in case these get snapped up quick.

A big thanks to my pal Cal over at the best comic shop in the world, Strange Adventures for hooking me up with this opportunity. Speaking of, he will be running Cal-Con at the shop this weekend where he’s running all kinds of specials and cool events.

So this weekend, let’s get our nerd on. See you there!

Long live Kaliber10000

When I first got into the web industry back in 1998, I instantly immersed myself in the emerging online art scene. I was constantly surfing independent design websites to see how these other kids were using new technologies to create online installations and new digital artwork. It was pioneering time. An amazing time. Even though I wasn’t onstage back then, I was in the bleachers cheering these people on as hard as I could.

The bloodline of this online art scene was the “news stream” portion of web portal sites. The place where people post brief snippets and links to new amazing stuff they found. And the top of the heap, the best place to find new stuff which was updated many times every day … was the mighty Kaliber10000, or K10k.

Now, you have to understand when this was. I was a young design punk at the age of 21, and this is years before “blogs” existed so the spread of information was much slower than it is today. But K10k, man. If you wanted to have your finger on the pulse, you went there. I remember my palms sweating while waiting for their big redesign back in … what, 2001? When me and my design buddies would hang out we were constantly saying “Did you see that link on K10k today?”. That site saturated my life during that time. The boys even linked to a very early version of Signalnoise back in 2002. I felt like a king.

You could say sites like K10k paved the way for things like Twitter … hell, Twitter is basically a networked K10k newsfeed. But as time went on, the web portal sites closed up one by one and the blogosphere took over. The guys started up their own company, Cuban Council.

But I wanted to take a moment to tip the Signalnoise hat to K10k, which recently and proudly closed it’s doors. What Michael, Toke and Per did was extremely important to the web as a whole. But from personal experience … I probably never would have registered Signalnoise.com back in 1999 had I not been reading K10k everyday. I wouldn’t have been chasing a dream of creating digital art. That’s the truth.

So, here’s to you, K10k.

Monday poster launch!

I’m stupid excited to launch my newest movie poster on Monday morning, 9am EST. Sharp! I’ve been talking about this thing on Twitter and Facebook during production and things were finished up yesterday. It’s a beast, standing at 27″ x 41″. There have been some good guesses fired my way, but I’ve been keeping the actual film I designed for locked down. Only a few people have seen it at this point.

There is also a big online giveaway being set up with my favorite design blog, which will launch mid next week. More details on that action coming real soon as I arrange things with the top brass down in San Fran.

So be here Monday morning. Until then, I’ll be sweatin’ bullets over here.