Monthly Archives: June 2010

Mountain Dew Green Label Art™ Shop Series

Mountain Dew skateboarder, Paul Rodriguez and Dan Pendleton inspired 35 skate shops across the country to partner with an artist and design a can for Mountain Dew. Concepts skate shop in Cambridge, MA was chosen as one of five skate shops in the Northeast.

Only one can will be chosen for nationwide distribution. Please visit to cast your vote. Regional voting ends September 9th at 3PM. Thanks for all the support!

Want a BIG apartment in Manhattan? (bring your Brinks truck)

See all my portfolio samples at 

I created a large 1/2 page illustration for the cover page of the New York Times Sunday Real Estate section (6/27/10 issue date) … depicting a baby in a buggy, and along the side of the buggy is a blueprint floor plan of a large 4 bedroom apartment. 

(see top image of the printed newspaper page. Below that is the final illustration art as submitted to the art director…. and the bottom image is a shot of the piece in progress on my drawing table. The line drawing of the baby and the buggy and the little characters at the bottom were done with brush and black gouache on watercolor paper. The interior blue color of the buggy was also gouache and painted separately, then layered in with Photoshop. The background light blue building shapes were also created in Photoshop, as well and the white lines of the apartment diagram on the side of the buggy.) 

The article comments on the fact that in recent years there’s been a surge of 3 to 7 bedroom apartments making their way into the domain marketplace, to keep up with the growing demand for large apartments from the people with children and who no longer want to relocate to the suburbs once their family size calls for more space. I gave the baby a pleased countenance, no doubt from having a very big apartment to romp around in… Maybe I should have also placed a silver spoon in the baby’s mouth, as 3 to 7 bedroom apartments range from $2.5 million to $7 million (and up!) Can you say, “Holy Foyer, Batman!?”

I had worked with the Real Estate section art director, Carol Dietz, years ago, but in a different section of the newspaper… I am so glad she called me for this fun assignment. I had not worked for the NYTimes in quite awhile, so it’s “good to be back”…

I first began creating drawings for The New York Times back in 1980 (yes, before fax machines, before personal computers, before e-mail…) back in the days when the art director paraphrased the assignment’s article to you over the phone so you could get started on the sketch stage. Then you actually went to their office at the (old) Times Building in Times Square on West 45th Street, was screened through security, and first showed your sketch to the art director who then disappeared for a while to show the sketch to the editors… Then the same process was repeated again when you came back a day or two later delivering the completed final art, and handing it over so they could make a photostat of it and paste a B&W print of the art onto the layout mechanical… yes, with glue! When I look back on it, I now realize why I could eat countless cheeseburgers and pizza and never gain an ounce over 135 lbs…. because I was running all over the city delivering sketches and final art every day of the week!

In 1980 I was a skinny kid just out of art school one year, a graduate of Parsons School of Design in NYC, where I had studied under J.C. Suares. J.C. (who had previously been the NYTimes Op Ed page art director and was currently the AD at New York Magazine) gave me my first illustration assignments at New York Magazine the week after I graduated from design school. He then also introduced me to Jerelle Kraus who was the reigning AD of the Op Ed page. She liked my work and I somehow managed to regularly contribute drawings to the Op Ed page and Letters to the Editor page from 1980 through about 1985. A couple years ago in 2008, Jerelle released her book, “All the Art That’s Fit to Print, And Some That Wasn’t” recounting her many years as the Op Ed page art director, including all the run-ins with the editors, as well as showcasing many of the artists who contributed to the page… including the likes of Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Brad Holland, etc… and me! (see my previous post on Jerelle’s book) 

During those early years and in subsequent years I created drawings for the Op Ed page, but also created illustrations appearing in many of the NY Times other sections, too. The Book Review, Business page, Sunday Magazine, etc… but by the end of the 1990′s I was only doing maybe one illustration a year for the NYTimes. From about 2000 through 2007 my major newspaper client was The Wall Street Journal, as I was the regular illustrator for their Finicky Traveler column. 

For the past few years I have been busy with my usual projects in advertising, children’s books, magazines, packaging, and some animation character imaging for the web, etc… but have not really had a consistent gig with a major newspaper… so this recent New York Times Sunday Real Estate project hopefully will begin a renewed contact with the newspaper again! I am looking forward to the possibility.

Guest Blogger Jesse Den Herder Shares Tips on His Logo Design Process

Jesse Den Herder is the owner of DenHerder Design, an award winning “working class” design studio located in Northern Michigan. By striving to bring an unpretentious approach to design and a strong work ethic to every type of project, he has been able to work remotely for clients from coast to coast.

When Dave first asked me to write about my approach to logo design, I thought it would also be an opportunity to discuss my thoughts on the current state of such a valuable craft. With the rise of crowdsourcing, websites that claim $99 logos and everyone with a Mac trying to be a designer, creative logo design has the possibility of becoming compromised. This has however created an opportunity for good designers to re-affirm the value of their expertise to clients.

However, just being a good designer isn’t enough to get viable work anymore. As designers we have to constantly plead our case that good design = good ROI, which is easier said than done. One of the ways I’ve been able to separate my skills from low-ball logo designers, is by educating my clients concerning my design process. Much like a math teacher sharing their process for an algebraic equation, so I believe the designer should lay out the route from which the successful logo design is achieved.

Here are some steps I use when creating a new logo/identity:

1. Get a clear objective of what the logo needs to accomplish. Understand who the company/brand is:  past present and future, mission statement, etc.  Whenever possible I like to have the client fill out a “creative strategy” form, to help guide their vision and minimize development time.

2. Market Research: After reviewing the client’s needs and objectives, I study competitors’ logos, and industry trends in general, both past and present.

I’m always surprised by how many clients neglect this step when considering their corporate identity. While as a designer I’m not technically hired to be a business consultant, a good designer owes it to the client to understand the market for which they are designing.

3. Preliminary sketches/brainstorming: I always take a typographical approach to creating a logo, be it a logotype (a logo that includes a graphic) or wordmark (a type-only design). For at least 30 minutes I’ll sketch on paper all the ideas that come to my mind: words, illustration, whatever.

4. Take the best 5 sketches and continue to refine. Then I bring the sketches into digital form. I prefer to start logo projects in Adobe Ilustrator. I try to find a typeface family close to my sketched concepts, or I’ll create a font from scratch.

5. Even when designing a multi-color logo, always make sure the logo will reproduce successfully in black and white.

6. Present 3 good options for first review. It really depends on the client, but I have generally found that showing more than 3 options can be problematic.

7. Testing: Finally I make sure the client’s logo will translate well into all types of media including print, web, corporate identity, etc.

Over the years I’ve refined this approach and applied it to many other types of projects as well as logo design. It can be sometimes be tempting to skip a few of these steps, but I’ve learned the hard way that my end product is a direct result of adhering to my process.  Weak process = weak work.

I’ve often heard excuses from fellow designers that “I’m not getting paid enough to be really creative,” or, “It’s up to the client to do the market research.” From my perspective, if a client isn’t going to compensate me to do my job thoroughly, it’s not a project worth taking. In the long run a designer’s reputation is more valuable than a quick payout. It’s important we always view our work as a valuable business asset for our clients, and it’s equally important that they too see our value as well. I think the famous designer Primo Angeli said it best: “…time and money. Without them, design is mere decoration. Neither good design nor fine art.”

To learn and see more, visit or visit Jesse’s blog at

Don’t Swim in the Water

Here’s one of the many spots we’re creating for our promotional book. Lee built this little guy (including the water droplets) all in Modo 401 and then I did some CS5 Photoshop tweaking. We’ll post more soon. You can blow-up on this dude. Thanks for reading!