Early Work

Everyone starts someplace, right? I was cleaning up a dusty corner of my hard drive and came across a bunch of old poster designs. These are from 2002-04 when I really had no idea what I was doing. With no design training to speak of, I began making posters using a mix of found images, drawings, scanned type from old books, and not much else.

Each one of these has clever and interesting qualities that are slightly diminished by unexperienced design choices. I've paired a few of them below based on common visual threads. The first two below call on a kind of formalist aesthetic, highlighting color and texture as an analog to the music. In both cases a minor change to the type would have improved the whole. They both use all caps, italicized type in part of the design and it just looks unnecessary, as does the underline in the otherwise beautiful Secession Movement poster.

The one below uses hand set type scanned from an old Linotype specimen book from the 30's.

These two for The Secession Movement mix more formal type with loose illustration, and play with shape vs line. 

I rail against crappy free fonts in my classes, but here are two posters guilty of employing a few gems from the early oughts. Chinese Rocks was ubiquitous as an angular, fun free typeface, helped also by being named after a Ramones song.

I also began to distress type on my own. The next four below all use type that I set on the computer, then printed out and manipulated, then rescanned and put back into the design. The Delgados also mixes in some hand set type. This group begins to show more mature design execution. The Modey Lemon and Melt Banana posters are among my favorites. The Delgados poster was designed at the time when the US was going back into Iraq, which is why the poster's world is upside down and a white flag is signaling some kind of surrender to art and music as a healing force.

Gigposters are often devoid of concept. They are the biggest softball of a design problem, but there is also great opportunity to hit on interesting visual metaphors and take the work to a higher level. These two are taking a stab at it, with varying degrees of success. The f-hole bomb made sense at the time, but the thin outline and tiny black dot at the point of the bomb screw it up. The poorly drawn, poorly placed crown in the City of Caterpillar piece ruins the rather nice flames in the back. I missed both of these shows.

In early 2004 I decided to start drawing more in the work. i also had a thing about metal posters, that they could use no black and no skulls and still convey a sinister look. So this Mastodon poster is my first statement in all three of those aims. I also was learning about design history, so pulling in this art nouveau, Beardsley meets comics look seemed appropriate. Those hands are terrible!

It's fun to look back on your work and reflect on how your practice changes over time. I'm still driven by many of the same interests and ideas, and I'm still learning about design and communication with the same curiosity and energy.