Category Archives: Graphic Design

Graphic Designer Bruna Imai honors veterans with award-winning SYFY campaign

As a graphic designer, Bruna Imai takes a simple idea and turns it into a visual masterpiece. She finds the aesthetic that best suits each project and the most appropriate way to communicate a message with all its potential.

“All kinds of art, music, literature, film, dance, etc. – has its own language, and the role of the designer is to interpret these arts and translate one “language” to another. Any art is about telling a story, a message. I’m a storyteller specialized in the visual language, and I use elements like illustrations, photographs, objects, movies, animation, motion and so on to tell a story,” she said.

It is exactly this attitude toward her craft that has made Imai an industry leading graphic designer. She is known for her contributions to several acclaimed campaigns, including IFC’s “No Brainer” commercial spot, Coca-Cola’s “Coke On” commercial, FIFA’s Women’s World Cup on Fox Sports, and STATE Design’s Statement. Her work has gone on to receive several awards from the most prestigious advertising agencies and awards around the world.

Another award-winning project for Imai was the 2015 SYFY Veteran’s Day campaign. The project was about a holiday spot for SYFY Network to produce a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to the nation’s veterans. In addition to appearing on televisions all over the country, Imai’s work was also seen online. Parts of the animation were used as the opening and ending of “thank you” videos, featured in many motion graphics related sites.

Imai’s graphic design work led the project to immense success. Not only was it popular with viewers and online, but it took home several prestigious advertising awards. The project won the Channel Holiday/Special Event Spot at PromaxDBA 2016, the most important awards in entertainment marketing and design.

“I am still so happy this campaign was so successful, especially because it shows that all the trust that was placed in me was deserved. I was happy not only with the reaction from the public, but also happy about my performance, knowing that I could make something really interesting,” she said.

Imai had two main roles for this project, the storyboard, which involved transforming the script into the first sketches, and the layout, which she was solely responsible for. The project follows a color palette based on the United States flag and yellow light to add a warmth tone to the message. The entire process was done digitally in Photoshop. Imai received the script from the studio with some images they would like to use – the veterans carrying the flag, the eagle flying and a field of flags, plus some typography references of types and illustrations mixed up. She began sketching thumbnail studies and soon, the storyboard was ready.

As they were working on a tight timeline, Imai came up with the pivotal idea of most of the animation efforts into bold transitions and keeping the layouts simple but captivating in most scenes. She conceptualized the designs, especially the transitions in the theme of “freedom”, representing it with elements of “air”, which audiences can see in the flight of an eagle, the movement of the flag and leaves being carried by the wind. The illustrations were finished with a broad brush and sketchy edges to emphasize this movement and flow, making the animation finalization process easier.

“This project was a very challenging one and wouldn’t be possible to do on time without the studio’s trust in my work, giving me creative freedom. I loved working on a project that I could use my full potential as a designer. Also, the communication with the studio during the project was excellent, and is what made me feel like being part of the team. It would have been impossible to deliver this result without our good relationship,” she said.

As the sole designer for the project, Imai was vital to the Veteran’s Day campaign’s success. She expedited the process, considering the design and transitions even in the process of storyboarding. Because of her talents as a storyboard artist, she also saved the company money in doing multiple roles. Her versatility and vast understanding of her craft is unparalleled. For those looking to follow in her footsteps, she offers encouraging words of wisdom.

“There is a tendency for students to focus on learning the software and tools, but it is essential to study academic subjects of art and design to be able to do a solid project with cohesion. When you study theory, you learn how to “see” images and references. It is a study of how to analyze critically and technically a designer’s choice,” she advised. “Also, I would say to feed on various types of references, not just graphic design. There are so many languages of art in so many senses! Music, dance, photography, movies, sculpture, literature, gastronomy, performing, folk art, everyday experiences and so on. Just as languages are translatable from one to another, all kinds of artistic expression and experiences are translatable between them. We can see a great example illustrating this “translation” in the film Ratatouille, in the part in which the characters describe the flavors of the strawberry and cheese in graphical forms. I believe that it’s essential to be the professional who can see and navigate between different languages, have a fresh mind that continues to play and to experiment.”

Advertisements

Rupa Rathod takes audiences to dystopian future with tremendous graphics for Bastille’s global tour

10857247_10152825877204426_8592689807047272827_o_BW
Rupa Rathod

Nothing is more exciting for a music fan than getting tickets to see your favorite artist live in concert. The feeling of your body vibrating to the bass of a beloved song in a giant arena is simply euphoric. However, when enjoying the experience, it is easy to forget how many people it took to make the concert so incredible. Not only is there the talent, dancers, and band that one can see, there are also many that have worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes. Rupa Rathod is one of those people. As an industry leading motion graphics designer, the intricate visuals displayed on the giant screens of the show are her masterpieces.

Having worked with several iconic musicians, such as Shania Twain and Kylie Minogue, Rathod’s work has been seen and appreciated on a global scale. She loves what she does, not only working alongside some of the world’s biggest stars, but also being able to merge her passions for music and design.

“Everything catches my eye; shapes, colors, photography, art and perspective, they’re all influences. I’m constantly working out how to turn anything I see into something graphical, abstract and moving. I’m very practical and hands on so my interest in design and art have always been very much a part of who I am,” said Rathod.

Two years ago, Rathod saw great success with her work on the “Wild, Wild World Tour” for the popular band Bastille. The global tour allowed the motion graphics artist to work closely with award-winning Creative Director, Rob Sinclair, band management, and the band themselves to create and produce the screen content with LA based production company and studio, Blink.

“I developed a good working relationship with the band. It’s the notion that you understand their world and so you have their trust on something so important to them. It’s what grounds me the most during these projects and what I aspire to always have with artists and bands,” Rathod described.

Loosely set in a slightly playful dystopian world, the vision for the tour visuals was very specific but also required a lot of collaborative development. The brief for this tour was the notion that big brother was watching and controlling you, set in a future where the whole world was ruled by a fictional corporation, World Wide Communications. Rathod’s understanding of Sinclair and the band’s vision was trusted by the entire design team instantly.

“It’s unusual for a tour, especially with an indie band to have such a strong narrative, so I was sold from the moment I read the concept. In my mind, there was no end to the amount of scenarios that could be created in this dystopian world. I was completely submerged in this environment and pitching my designs, having them approved and then being able to develop all the ideas into real working visuals was hugely rewarding,” said Rathod.

Copy of L1002960
Shot from Bastille “Wild, Wild World Tour” stage

On a tour such as Bastille’s, the set design is always the beginning of the process. Rathod and her team began producing strong concepts and inspirational references. Once the setlist was completed, Rathod got to work.

As Producer, her role was to develop the initial brief, and oversee and direct the team of animators and visual artists. This involved digging a bit deeper into the references and going back with an initial design. Once her approach was approved, she collaborated Blink’s team of motion graphics artists to bring the visuals to life.

As she is so hands on when it comes to the visual aspect of the production, Rathod is ideally placed to see the project through the final stages of rehearsals. For her, it all comes together when she gets into a production rehearsal with the full band, lighting and all departments working together. As a creator of visual content, her job isn’t just to make great visuals, it’s to create content that’s cohesive with a huge live concert spectacle. Some of the best video moments in the show were not conceived until this rehearsal block, so a big part of Rathod’s job was turning ideas around sometimes overnight to test them on screen the next day. This also allowed her to form a good relationship with the band.

Rupa_Kyle_AppleMusic_Bastille
Rupa Rathod and Kyle J Simmons, keyboard player of Bastille

“I worked with Rupa on the “Wild World” world tour across 2016 and 2017, where she was in charge of creating all the video content for our live show. Her creative abilities are second to none and to be able to interact with her on an artistic level was a hugely fulfilling experience. We hope to use her again and again during the next touring cycles. She is without doubt one of the best in the industry at what she does, quite apart from being one of the nicest,” said Dan Smith, the lead singer of Bastille.

Rathod stayed on this tour for the first few shows, which allowed two weeks to tweak and change content prior to the band’s first big night at the O2 in London. Seeing the fans’ responses from her work made the entire experience even more worth it.

“The reaction from fans as well as reviews acknowledged the visuals I produced and was a welcome recognition of how important the visuals are to the overall concert experience. It’s a completely multi-sensory experience and seeing it through from start to finish is always the most rewarding part. It’s always such a priceless moment when you see it go live, a feeling that I don’t think will ever leave me,” she concluded.

To stay up-to-date with Rathod’s work at Blink Inc., check out their website.

 

Top Photo: Rupa Rathod, Tom Colbourne and Steve Price working on Bastille Tour

Tom Mattison uses artistic talents to raise awareness of mental health initiative with Vans

image2
Tom Mattison

Growing up in Southampton, England, Tom Mattison was always interested in art and design. As a child, he started with traditional image-making techniques like printing, drawing and painting. As he grew, he progressed to the design and print industry and has been able to channel his passion for creativity into a commercial avenue. Now, he is a celebrated creative artworker, putting his mark on many successful campaigns around the United Kingdom.

“My personal art and design practice centers around process and prescribed techniques. I find inspiration in the way that doing certain things can introduce mistakes that might lead to unexpected outcomes. This juxtaposes the work I do within the advertising industry where everything is considered and rationalized. I enjoy my personal work as a release from rigid structure,” said Mattison.

Working both as a freelancer and with the company Genix Imaging Ltd, Mattison has collaborated with iconic brands like Selfridges, GAP, and Nike. Last summer, he also worked with the sneaker and apparel brand Vans on their “All In: The Mind” exhibition at House of Vans in London. He was commissioned to design the poster and visual identity for the show.

“All In: The Mind” was a display of various works from across the artistic spectrum that encouraged discussion around mental health into the everyday. Visual art, fashion, music, sculpture and poetry were all showcased to remind attendees that it is okay to not be okay. Showcased under the famous arches at London’s Waterloo Station, all proceeds from the event were donated to the mental health charity Mind.

The graphic Mattison produced was created using original hands-on print techniques and applied across print and digital formats. He also produced a large hanging banner that was displayed in the entrance atrium of the exhibition gallery.

To do this, Mattison first made a large body of monoprints using red and blue inks. He then edited the prints and manipulated them digitally. After the works were on the computer, he created a layout and typographic look, and then various executions of the design, such as printed posters, website banners, social media content and press releases.

Other than the exhibition theme, which was mental health within the art world, there were no design guidelines for the project. As the sole creative artworker, Mattison was given creative freedom on the project, granted total free reign to explore what he thought the look of the show should be. He responded with a feel that was expressive and painterly but restrained and considered in the typography and layout. Alongside promotional materials, he also applied his artistic practice and submitted a large digital-print hanging canvas banner artwork to sit within the exhibition.

“The freedom was amazing because I was able to express my creative voice without constraint. It was also good to work on design aspects using my own imagery, something I don’t often have the opportunity to do in the advertising industry. I was also able to work with other leading figures in the design and art world because the show was a group exhibition,” said Mattison.

Mattison was initially approached by Bryony Stone, the curator of the exhibition to design the identity and promotional materials for the show. She was aware of his creative artwork background as well as his talents. She was looking for someone who was able to handle all requirements alone, and Mattison was the ideal candidate. He was an asset to the project and ensured smooth delivery of all requirements.

Seeking design approval and comments from Stone, the two formed an outstanding partnership. They both reached a solution that they were pleased with for the visual identity of the exhibition.

“The idea for my artworks in the show were: the visual cortex of our brains’ process of blue and red imagery in a unique way. We fuse the two separate images to create one three-dimensional scene. Lines blur and edges collide. This piece explores the transient elements of our mind, looking into how we process and decipher the world around us,” Mattison described.

Without a doubt, Mattison’s contributions were essential to the success of the exhibition. He was the driving force of the event’s visual identity, creating awareness for attendees. He completed the entire project independently, having total creative control over the entire process.

His work was appreciated by more than just those that attended the exhibition. Mattison quickly saw quite a lot of exposure for his work. Publications at the forefront of contemporary art and design, fashion and culture, and more were praising his work, and having press from leading outlets publicized the show further. Outlets such as Refinery29,Timeout, WonderlandMagazine, Is Nice Thatand Dazedall covered the show.

Jamie Maunder designs without limits

Stash 1
Jamieson Maunder

There are two types of people in this world: those who believe that there are limits to what an individual can achieve, and those who understand that limits only exist to be challenged. The latter group are few and far between yet tend to exist within a small percentage of society’s highest performing achievers. In the case of designer Jamie Maunder, for instance, dreaming without confines is a natural part of who he is. With each goal he sets for himself, he expects to not only complete it, but to outdo his former self. All it takes is a mere glance at Maunder’s career as Head of Design to know that he wasn’t built for an average life. He was designed for greatness and with greatness, he designs.

Throughout the course of his career, Maunder has tested his hand at multiple disciplines within the design industry, including working in design studios and clothing factories, as well as print and production agencies. The skills he has acquired throughout these diverse experiences make him an invaluable part of any project he collaborates on, as was the case when he worked for entities like Loughborough Sport and the International Olympic Committee. This reality was exemplified in 2006 when Maunder began his three-year journey working with the elite sportswear brand, Stash. Having grown up being inspired by Stash’s unique, British premium sportswear, Maunder felt that this opportunity was something he absolutely had to be a part of. His ability to secure employment with Stash is a testament to Maunder’s networking skills and eye for design. At that point in his budding career, he had made a name for himself and Stash were not slow to notice.

When Maunder first began working at Stash, he was taken back by their unique setup and by their willingness to foster his development as a designer. Within their headquarters, Stash came equipped with a design studio, as well as a full production house with approximately 75 per cent of production in house. This presented Maunder with a learning experience unlike any other he had known in the past. The setup epitomized the concept of being able to see a job through from start to finish.

“Having the production under the same roof as the design facilities allowed me to witness and learn the processes involved in carrying a product through from inception, or the design phase, to being packed up and ready to be shipped. I couldn’t resist learning how to use all of the machines and this took my understanding of the development phase to a whole new level,” recalls Maunder.

Stash 2
Jamieson Maunder, Kerry Williams

As he tends to do with every company he joins or project he contributes to, Maunder left a lasting impact on the employees and design protocols at Stash. He can be credited with not only introducing the first three-dimensional rugby jersey illustration during his time at Stash, but also for training his colleagues to use this method. This resulted in a significant reduction in the duration of the illustration phase of a design. It allowed Stash’s design team to provide their clients with a prompt idea of what their design would look like in reality prior to actually creating it. In addition, this allowed his co-workers to expedite these processes which, in turn, allotted him more time to develop new, exciting products and ways to increase Stash’s brand awareness.

Ultimately, during his time with Stash, Maunder was responsible for developing compression garments for some of the world’s top professional athletes. In 2009, for example, he worked with the British Bobsleigh Association to design and create cutting-edge race suits that not only looked appealing but were designed with purpose and functioned in such a way that helped these athletes remain at the top of their game. The skill set he developed here is one that he carries with him in every job he encounters today, and he considers the opportunity to invent with no barriers as having been one of the most liberating, important parts of his entire career. It felt as though he was working with the elite in order to serve the elite and the outcomes kept in theme.

It isn’t difficult to understand why Stash were honored to have Maunder on their team for such a growth-oriented period of time. In fact, Sailosi Tagikakibau, who captained for the Stash Allstars team and who’d had Rugby performance apparel created for him by Maunder, found him to be an inspiring, valuable person to have collaborated with. When asked what made Maunder such a pleasure to work with, Tagikakibau was eager to describe him as someone genuine and skilled.

“Jamie is someone that puts his heart into everything that he does. From scratch, he managed to put together a team of professional international and national players to test the products he had created and to ultimately win tournaments. He always wants to know how he can improve something, which in turn, made me very comfortable as a professional athlete. Knowing he had my personal interests in mind at all time made a world of a difference,” told Tagikakibau.

For Maunder, on the other hand, working with Stash was so much more than a resume builder. It helped him to identify a passion he hadn’t quite taken notice of in the past and one that far extended beyond simply designing and producing sportswear. Rather, he finds himself driven by the fact that his profession affords him countless opportunities to dive deep into his problem-solving skills and address issues in an unexpected, yet meaningful way.

“My time at Stash changed my whole outlook on a career in design. I became obsessed with the human form and with the way in which it moves. For this reason, my ability to design apparel that enhances an athlete’s performance was strengthened by my time at Stash and I couldn’t be better off for it,” Maunder concluded.

Graphic Designer Laura Suuronen’s Limitless Creativity

Graphic designer Laura Suuronen’s mastery of expressive, dynamic visuals have made her an international success. While design relies on subtly, balance and rhythm, when effectively executed it has colossal impact. The Helsinki-born Suuronen’s command of and gift for the medium creates a consistently irresistible finished product.

“A graphic designer creates visual communications,” Suuronen said. “The field has expanded and changed tremendously over recent years, as the world’s become more visual and people’s visual literacy has grown.”

Suuronen has built upon that growth with singular alacrity, always displaying a natural skill which guarantees the success of any given assignment and frequently leads to subsequent, ever more impressive achievements. It’s a demanding discipline, but her background provided ideal preparation from an early age.

“In Finland, design is part of everyday life,” Suuronen said. “I grew up surrounded by design furniture, so I absorbed those forms and the sensibility. I learned of design as a profession in high school, as I was taking all possible art classes to balance out my other studies. I was always drawn to making art, yet I wanted to do something more useful, or, I guess, practical.”

Laura-Suuronen-Finland-Expo-1
Visualization of branding concept for Finland’s stand at 2017 World Expo

After high school, Suuronen attended the Pekka Halonen Academy, attaining a degree in Visual Expression and continued her studies at Helsinki’s University of Art and Design, earning a BA in Graphic Design, before moving on to the Master’s program.

The gifted Suuronen settled into life as a dedicated professional—and once she did, things began to move fast.Her earliest experience was at cutting-edge mobile software development startup Max Rumpus, essentially developing apps—at a time when the touch screen didn’t yet exist.

Laura-Suuronen-Galerie-Anhava-2
20th Anniversary Book for contemporary art pioneer Galerie Anhava

“The company’s goal was to create ‘good looking text messages’ that didn’t require separate software to download and view them,” Suuronen said. “This was a good first job, as I was able to do a breadth of work across mediums and was never held back. I was doing anything and everything in this startup, implementing and developing branding related projects, like packaging, brochures, manuals and random things like illustrations, expo stands, posters, business cards, interior design for a new office. Their art director was very supportive and a good mentor, with whom I still keep in touch.”

With limited opportunities for pure design at the one-product tech startup, she moved on to a post at the prestigious Hasan & Partners advertising firm. It was a critical step up for the ambitious young designer

“Being in top 3 of Finnish agencies for decades, Hasan was very different from Max Rumpus,” Suuronen said. “I was designing everything from 360 ad campaigns to art books during my time there, a lot of cool projects. Sometimes it was more art work production, sometimes it was about designing press, TV or online campaigns for leading Nordic consumer brands. I designed logos for Italian fashion brands, conceptualized press ads and posters, art directed photo-shoots, created installations, designed interactive technology-pushing websites and oversaw character and animation development. It was a great experience—to learn how the big things are done. And I got to see my work plastered around town, in newspapers and on TV constantly.”

Suuronen was off to an impressive start and her subsequent career path has steadily ascended. Now based in Los Angeles, this energetic, limitlessly creative woman stands at the forefront her field. Whether designing posters or art directing for magazines and web sites, Suuronen excels at her craft in a variety of media—from sophisticated software and computer techniques to old fashioned pen and ink drawing—and she has multiple awards, along with the respect of her colleagues, to show for it.

“Laura’s work never fails to impress,” graphic designer-illustrator Stefan Bucher said. “She pairs clear, powerful ideas with refined aesthetics, and adds just the right dash of eccentricity to keep things interesting. There’s no doubt in my mind that her American future will outshine the considerable brightness of her European past.”

Suuronen refuses to limit herself and the result is a striking roster of professional achievements, both as a designer and art director; Suuronen is adept at strategy and brand development, establishing unique visual identities for her clients, working across the full creative spectrum: books, catalogs, magazines, websites and apps, events and campaigns for a dazzling array of international agencies, including Siegel + Gale, Media Arts Lab, leading Scandinavian museums and art galleries, publishers and record labels.

“One thing that’s stuck with me from my early days at Hasan was the phrase ‘Never Satisfied,’ which was scribbled on a wall there” Suuronen said. “So, I’m always going to be looking to bring fresh thinking into a project. I like to explore new ideas and see where they lead. I’ve never been happy repeating what’s been done before—there is always further to push.”