Archive for the 'Graphic Design' Category

I made a bandana…

I created this bandana for Ubisoft’s upcoming Ghost Recon Future Soldier as a promotional giveaway for shows and conventions. They liked it so much that they decided to use it as a pre-order bonus.

Arabic versions of western packaging


Found this great Flickr stream of western products in their arabic version. I have always wanted to find a book on arabic graphic design because of how their writing system is quite beautiful and calligraphic, thus making them perfect graphic elements in a design. These show the particular challenge of not only interpreting what the brand is, but having to mimic the roman logotype backwards in arabic.

The guy also has a set of just logo marks from various retail stores.

A Papa John’s in Dubai…who would’ve thunk!



Via Eric Tan.

The Book — or lack thereof

Just a quick update about my book, Telling Stories With Color:

It’s on hiatus.

I’ve gone through several drafts now of each chapter, and seriously? It’s been getting worse and worse. It was supposed to go to press on September 10 — and I might have been able to hit that deadline, and might have even liked the work I did, if I had no other distractions and could concentrate solely on the book for the next five weeks. Since that’s clearly not an option with my work schedule, I finally came clean with Virgin and said, “I can’t do this. I’m unhappy with the direction the book’s going in; I’m unhappy with the lack of support; I’m very unhappy with how little time I can spend on it to make it right. I’m willing to pull the plug on it entirely at this point.” So the editor (Charlie Beckerman, who’s awesome to work with) calmed me down and said he’d talk with the EIC and the CEO. The EIC and CEO both decided that my book is kind of a rogue project (they’ve never published a ‘textbook’ before), and they need to concentrate their marketing and publishing efforts on their core comics for the time being, so it’s perfectly fine if we put my rogue book aside for now and come back to it later.

This doesn’t mean that it’s not being published. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be published by Virgin, but it’s too soon to address that yet. If in six months they decide that they don’t want to do the book, I have the freedom to take everything but the images and republish elsewhere. Pretty sweet.
I’m hoping that, after Secret Invasion is done, I can carve out some time to go back to the writing phase with a clear head and no pressure, and really make the book what it needs to be — less of a “how-to” and more of a “why”. The how-to’s have already been done, and done well; besides, no one needs a whole chapter on calibrating your monitor. (Well, some people do need that, but it can be a sidebar, not a whole chapter.) I need to concentrate on WHY colors do what they do, and if there’s any how-to to discuss, it’s how to choose a smart color scheme or how to determine a light source. That kind of thing.

So, that’s the haps. I will have a book out on the shelves one day, but it’ll bear very little resemblance to the current version.

Fresh 007 Covers

You Only Live Twice

Penguin is releasing a new set of hardcover Bond books, later this month, with amazing new cover art.  Check out the rest here.


There is a special kind of pride that you can take from strangers who find your art compelling enough to have it scratched onto themselves

scratched onto themselves
.  Here’s the original design.

Print Ads


I put together a couple of print ads a few weeks ago to promote our upcoming 2008 show. I am particularly proud of it because I was responsible for both the design of the ad, the design of all of the logos within the ad, and all of photographs used within.

Read more »

Read more »



Found a great Flickr gallery focused on the packaging of classic Atari games from the late 70s to early 80s. Not only is it a great sampling of that era’s graphic design and illustrative conventions, it’s also just a plain, old, good walk down memory lane. A lot more can be found here:

Rough drafts of covers

All right, you designery types. I need your eyeballs, advice, suggestions. I’m working up some roughs of cover ideas for my four-part series called “Telling Stories with Color.” I’m starting with Book 1, but it’s safe to assume that whatever design is chosen, the main elements of that design will remain for all four issues; just the colors will change. These will initially be released as four 22-page floppy comic books and then collected into a deluxe edition with a DVD or somesuch. I want something that does not immediately scream “COMIC BOOK!!”, but imparts some of the clean classiness of Chip Kidd covers. Please let me know what you think of these, whether any of them have any hope whatsoever. If you’ve got ideas of your own, please feel free to share!

Sample 1: Crap on a Crap Cracker

Sample 2: Slightly Less Crap

Sample 3: Now I’m Getting Silly

Sample 4: Probably Too Gimmicky

Picture of the Week
Picture of the Week

Had to put this up as the Pic of the Week. Damn wartime ads are just awesome!




Someone is offering up a set of propaganda posters inspired by the new Battlestar Galactica series. They’re not bad. Referencing post-modern/industrialist art, they seem to capture the mood of the series (which I haven’t seen…sorry). The one sore spot is that one with the Cylon woman. Absolutely no attempt to remain consistent with the artwork of the other posters featuring human beings or their parts (hands in this case). They should have found another way.

Coloring workshop come and gone

Well, that went…well?

When they told me my workshop was going to be recorded, I expected a guy with a handheld. Then when they told me they weren’t sure it would be recorded, I relaxed. Then I walked into the office — and there was a frickin’ FILM CREW there. Fuuuuuuuuck. Cue instant (but quiet) panic and an almost overwhelming flight response.

But I kept it together, despite a crucial missing file, despite my completely disorganized reference DVD, despite having to work on someone else’s machine (with a GIANT 30-inch Apple flatscreen — good god, that was a thing of beauty) — and I think I did all right. Well, no. I didn’t. I was all over the place, despite a well-organized if incomplete workbook. I skipped over crucial information, had to go back, forgot to use key phrases that really drove the points home. I’d say that I was off-kilter about half the time. Cue cards? Forgot they were there.

After about five minutes, though, I started to forget the camera was there. People started to ask questions. Good questions.

Let me stop here and say this: Suresh Seetharaman, the head of the art department in India, is a brilliant artist and a pleasant, articulate, intelligent man. I really like the cut o’ his jib. He really helped keep the theoretical discussion alive. Not that I felt like I was floundering; he basically reiterated the point I’d just made in a different way, and we found ourselves on the same side of the conversation, his position from an academic standpoint and mine from the practical world. I would liken him to a favorite professor.

Of course, I have no recollection of what I actually said. Like, AT ALL. I’m sure I’ll look over the video of the thing and think, “My god, did I say that? Ugh! Scrap it all! I sound like an idiot!”

Everyone seemed very happy with the results. I think they’re all being too nice. Seriously. If I watched me give that seminar, I would be like, “uh, hey, prepare much?”

But. Whatever. The worst of it is over. There’s still a ton to do, like finish the workbooks and the voiceovers for the DVDs, but by and large, the worst part is done.

I haven’t slept in days, and I just got a reprieve on a deadline. I think I’ll go take a nice hot bath and  a nap.

Thanks for all the kind words, y’all. When I get the second draft under way, I’ll post excerpts.

– Laura

Writing/Designing Frenzy this weekend

So here’s what’s going on.

I’ve been consulting for Virgin Comics for a while now — basically, I get paid to do what I already do for free on Gutterzombie, but a little more extensively — and when we first discussed this consultancy, two of the main perks were (1) a book about coloring and (2) a workshop in Bangalore, India, where their coloring department is. I jumped at it because I wanted to go to India, and the consulting part sounded easy.

Fast forward to…uh, roughly August-ish. Boss told me he wanted me to create an outline for a series of 22-page tutorial booklets, which would be paired with DVDs, featuring me, yapping about coloring and creating homework assignments and whatnot. So, I drafted up the outline, sent it off, waited for a few weeks for approval, and forgot about it.

Fast forward again to right around November 6. Bossman says, “You’re coming to NYC on December 5 to present a mini-workshop for us here, kind of a sneak peek at the big workshop in India. We’ll be recording you for the DVDs. Oh, and we want to see copies of these 22-page tutorial books before you get here, so we can proof them.”

Oh goody.

So, for the last two weeks (I was uberbusy from the 6th to the 16th), I’ve been scrambling to learn enough about color management to not sound like a twat; find all the bits and pieces of old tutorials and outlines that I’d done over the years; learn InDesign (which is pretty intuitive) and dredge up memories of graphic design from ten years ago when I last did a layout; read Virgin’s entire catalogue and find images that can be shoehorned into concepts like hue-value-saturation and mood-depth-focus; and write and design four books. Luckily, the editors know that the books will be ROUGH DRAFTS (and boy, will they be rough).

It’s pretty insane. And it’s a little weird writing a four-issue miniseries about coloring, and I can’t use any of my own work, because I’ve only colored six covers for Virgin. So I’m having to basically fake my way through it, guessing what the colorists’ intentions were. It’s very strange.

The first drafts are due on Monday and I haven’t completed a single booklet. Hell, I haven’t even finished bullshitting writing the copy for the fourth segment.

Oh, and Thor’s due next week too.

My hope is that the rough drafts will be generally approved, but I will be given the time to finish them, polish them up, make the design work, and edit everything so I don’t sound like I’m plagiarizing Chiarello’s book. I’m nervous about being in front of a small crowd of Virgin bigwigs for four hours straight (and being recorded! Maybe I’ll suck and they won’t use any of that footage.) I am flat out of time on the books, have no time to practice my speaking or prepare files for a live tutorial. In short, I’m screwed.

So, that’s it in a nutshell. That’s been my life, my acid reflux, my caffeine addiction for the last month.

Wish me luck.

I wish I was in Thailand.

– Laura

Hiragana Artwork


Clean and approachable (ie. commercial) uses of this genre of design really knocks my socks off. Each of the images spells out “Funazen” (the name of the shop).