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Getting intimate with the classics

19 Mar

These are among the most beautiful examples of architectural photography I have ever seen. The photographer took full advantage of the movement, light, and natural construction materials used in the design.

When I fist saw the top image I was blown away by the design of the room, the beautiful skylights, and the afternoon sun streaming in.

Then I realized I was inside a violin. As a classically trained violinist I probably should have been quicker on the uptake.

These shots are part of a larger campaign for the Berlin Philharmonic, with the tagline “closer to the classical.” “Closer” is an understatement: we are looking at the inside of some of the most recognizable (from the outside) classical musical instruments.

Did you know what you were looking at right away?

(photos courtesy of ibelieveinadv.com)

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The Copeland Collective launches in Victoria

12 Mar
The Copeland Collective from Victoria BC

(L>R front) Asmaa Methqal, Kristin Grant (back) Jodie Carlisle, Doug Brown, Derek Ford, Michael Tension, Bryan Dwyer, Dave Wallace, Kris Hageland, Andrea Merson, Danny Prew, Matt Andres, Brandon Wells

When advertising people look at potential solutions to marketing challenges, we do so through the lenses of our trade: corporate strategic planning, research and data analysis, branding, marketing strategies, ads, promotions, contests, social media…you get the idea.

But bring an interior designer or a videographer or a multi-media artist into the brainstorming fray and you see the opportunities through remarkably different eyes.

That’s the idea behind The Copeland Collective, a brand new creative community of some of the most talented artists and professionals the city of Victoria has to offer.

Logo for The Copeland Collective in Victoria, BC

The Copeland Collective is a creative problem-solving machine, designed to revolutionize the way we look at how brands and customers interact, and move away from traditional advertising solves.

In addition to Copeland staff, the Collective includes:

But this is more than just a powerhouse group of creative minds: these are connectors and entrepreneurs with their own communities, and they’re wired into the city,  into culture and into the vibe on the street.

With these amazing talents taking our analytical and creative skills to a new level, we think we can do anything the other major Canadian urban centres can – and do it better.

We’ve got projects already in the works and you’ll be hearing a lot more about The Copeland Collective and the players within it as we roll ahead. Stay tuned!

(Photo by Derek Ford, logo by Michael Tension)

Every Dog has its (bad) day

27 Feb

Gender identity, obesity, fidelity, and well, stumbling into one of your parents more intimate moments are issues that people face every day. The “Dogs have issues too” print campaign from Ireland/Davenport in Johannesburg, South Africa imagines our best friends in some of our worst nightmares with heartbreaking results.

Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer’s host, uses behaviour modification techniques to rehabilitate dogs with problems ranging from minor inconveniences to excessive barking, carpet urination, and aggression.

The need for help and support through emotional and behavioral issues is not a uniquely human one. This campaign does a great job of using some uniquely human issues to bring a sense of connection to these canines that I’m sure we can all relate to on some level.

Concept-wise, it doesn’t feel like we’re being sold the same idea four times. It’s nice to see a series use repetition with such a nice amount of variation though-out. This feels like a robust little campaign.

And you can’t deny the creative on these ads is great: each is a simple scene with a perfectly subtle amount of content. I bet you had fun scanning each one to find the issue at hand. Kudos to the art directors on this one – it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for these little guys.

It isn’t obvious whether they were able to achieve the dog’s expressions naturally or through the help of some clever photoshopping (although I suspect this is the case), but either way, the heart-breaking emotion on their little dog faces is the finishing, personifying touch on these bittersweet ads.

Post by: Christie Burns & Danny Prew

Bring your brand to life where it matters most

8 Feb

Incredible Hulk "fearless" at Square1

Take a long hard look at your brand and what it really stands for. Are your values just words on a page? Or does your company LIVE those brand values every day.

“We live to be innovative and unconventional and yet keep the experience simple for our customer.”

Fantastic. How do you reflect that position on a day-to-day basis away from your external marketing efforts? How do you answer your phone to underline it? How does your accounting system match up? What are you internal processes that support innovation and simplicity? That’s where the rubber hits the road.

Companies that live their brand values – and live with them – find it effortless to communicate them externally. And they get buy-in from the most important brand ambassadors they have: their employees.

Companies that wear their values on their sleeve know where they’re going and how to get there.

I watched this principle in action this week in the offices of Dallas-based Conversion Optimization agency Square1.

brand values on Square1 boardroom glass

They have listed their four key brand values (Curious, Fearless, Creative and Strategic) on the glass wall of their boardroom and each value receives epic personification in the form of a character and an associated value statement.

When you approach the front door, you are accosted by an 8-foot Hulk, who represents Fearless. That’s a big first impression.

The other 3 are placed at strategic areas throughout the office.

Hiawatha "curious" at Square1

Spiderman "creative" at Square1

Soldier "strategic" at Square1

There are tons of other dramatic and creative things going on in their workspace, including a massive combat scene in the creative department.

This is a company that is serious about its values.

How serious is your business about yours?

Creative department mural in Square1

Use words to nail a perfect idea

3 Feb

In my professional bios, I always state that I am still in hot pursuit of the perfect idea. I define perfection as simplicity, beauty and absolute executional relevance to the product.

Have I ever come close? Perhaps on two occasions, both print ads. Coincidentally, they shared a theme of being type-only ads where the words tell the visual story.

I was influenced in this regard by the legendary New York graphic designer Bob Gill, who loved type-only design and applied the concept of reductum ad infinitum with relish. He removed everything from his designs except what was essential to telling the story. His United Nations lunch series invitation inspires me still.

U.N. lunch invite by Bob Gill

Bob is 80 now and his website still crackles with energy and simplicity.

I came across these word-as-image examples and recognized in them not only the excellent logo of a fellow T-CAAN agency, Vancouver’s Elevator Strategy, but a number of executions which nail my definition of the perfect idea. Most of them would make memorable animated logos.

I loved Voyeur the best. Which was your favourite?

Into The Wild

26 Jan

This time last year I was preparing to finish my last year of design school. While most days were spent worrying about project deadlines and final presentations, I also remember being clouded by thoughts regarding what I was to do once I was forced to leave this comfy nest called art school. Where will I work? How will I get there? Where do I start?

A year later, now three weeks into my role as Art Director, I thought I’d look back at what I’ve learned since then and see if I can’t share it with the next crop of students. Having just gone into the wild – here are a few tips that worked for me and a few more I didn’t get the chance to try.

DIRECTION

Often times people would say to me “Victoria is so small that all the good design jobs are taken”. The way I see it, the smaller the town the easier it should be to stand out amongst the crowd. So before you decide to pack up and move to that neighbouring metropolis, remember: you have to ability to make a mark in your small town, too. Find out exactly what your dream job is and make it your goal. Stay optimistic and keep focused. The unfortunate reality is that as time passes your competition will slowly drop out of the race. If you manage to outlast you’ll start to move up the ladder.

GET OUT THERE

Don’t sit idle between dropping off resumes. Do something to get your work noticed. Start a design blog and post local content, re-design your school newsletter and offer to maintain it, pitch your designs to companies you admire. Take a chance and don’t be afraid to be shot down. Sure you could get rejected, and at first you probably will – but if you’re lucky you might at least gain a pro’s insight regarding your work. While these ideas might not get you paid, they’re all are great steps towards growing your portfolio with real world experience.

NETWORK

Don’t stress this one. Networking will come naturally, if you’re here reading this blog then you’re already doing it. Because most jobs aren’t advertised, networking can be your best bet to get your foot in the door. Consider a student membership to the Graphic Designers of Canada. Your local chapter has dozens of social events each year. Why not start by volunteering to check coats or take tickets at an event? These events are meant to be fun, so relax. Nobody’s there to interview you, try to have fun and enjoy yourself. Your personality should be on show, not your portfolio.

NAVIGATE

Get to know any potential employers in your area. Navigate your way through the company, introduce yourself to the staff, find out what the mood around the office is like. Now the fun part – don’t just tell potential employers that you’re creative, show them!  Go a step further by customizing a package based on what you’ve learned. Put aside the typical resume. Try a website, video or DVD portfolio.

RESOURCES

Now is the perfect time to start seeking out internships, scholarships and awards. Internships are your best bet for work right now, it’s how mostly all designers start.

Check Applied Arts, Communication Arts and Adobe for student awards. They’re a great way to get regional and even worldwide recognition for your work. Another benefit of the GDC is that they’ll do much of the work for you. A student membership gives you access to up-to-date job/internship postings, scholarships and awards info.

Get yourself a website to showcase your work but keep it simple, and remember when it comes to a portfolio it’s always quality over quantity. Be sure to replace old pieces with new ones as your skills progress. And if your web skills aren’t up to snuff yet, there’s plenty of easy-to-use portfolio sites out there. Try Behance , Carbon Made or Cargo Collective.

SOCIAL MEDIA

You’d be surprised what opportunities that might arise from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to access all three. Each one is different, so learn which to use for particular content. They’re a great way to engage with people, and give them a reason to follow you. Share unique content specific to you: your opinions, your portfolio pieces, and discussions that you’re taking part in.

Thanks for reading, I hope that helps. I’ve included my icon pack for download if you’d like them for personal use. For now you can get to know us @YourCopeland. We love students.

Moon Art to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

22 Dec

I was browsing the Internet this morning and I came across these beautiful pictures that capture the fun spirit of celebrating the Winter Solstice.

These pictures have chosen the Moon as the perfect subject to create a magical work of art full of symbolism. I love most of them, what about you? What is your favorite?

I couldn’t find the name of the artist. Please share it if you come across the name or other type of work.

Happy Winter Solstice!

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