If I Only Had These Balls…

I’m having client problems again.  Well, not really again – it’s always the same fucking client with the same fucking idiotic problems.  Sometimes I really feel if I were to give myself a lobotomy it may be better, as then at least this client and I would be on a level playing field.   When I am feeling this way, I sometimes turn to this chap’s website, as his copies of emails and stories regarding his graphic design business always makes me laugh.  I wish I had his balls.

Here is a link to my favorite of his hilarious posts – although they are all pretty funny.  Also, check out “Missing Missy” and “Overdue Account”.

Taking a deep breath, and back to work…

The Scariest Children’s Book of All Time: Chapter 1

Okay, cheezy props aside, what the hell were these people thinking with the eyes on these zombie cats?   I mean, seriously, something is very wrong with them… especially the one in the gingham overalls.  There’s something not quite right about him.  Actually, they are all hideous – they scare the hell out of me!

And, Im trying to figure out the scale here.  Are they giant puppets and the props are regular size?  Or, are they tiny and the props are doll house size? For some reason, I feel that they are in-between and the props were somehow made for this shoot.  What’s up with that blue lantern-thingy?  Are those balls of string for knitting or batting around the house?  Why is there a fish embroidered on the mommy cat’s apron?  Why is this all so fucking creepy????

The Scariest Children’s Book of All Time

Ladies and Gentlemen:  I give you the most frightening children’s book of all time.  This was a gift to me by a good friend.  This was hers as a child and she said at the time she was somewhat obsessed with it.  For some reason, she thought I would appreciate the incredible oddness that permeates this classic tale of the three little kittens who lose their mittens.  I will be posting the entire book this week.

A little background: The book is labeled to be from the Renewal Products Incorporated Eduacational Games and Aids Division.  Now if that doesn’t sound like fun fucking company, then I don’t know what does!  The oddness begins on the first page, where we find out that actually, this is a Japanese publication.  The copyright is from 1971 from the Frobel-Kan Company Limited and says it was printed and bound in Japan.  Oh, and the “pictures” are attibuted to the Rose Art Studios.  And wait until you see the magical work of these studios!  Avatar got nothin’ on them!

So, as we see on the beautiful cover, the three little kittens are washing their mittens among some sort shag carpet and chroma-key background.  I keep expecting to see a weather map behind them.  Obviously no kitten can wash anything without using CAT SOAP POWDER, because using DOG SOAP POWDER would be suicide back in the 70s.  And what shag carpet would be complete without plastic flowers strategically placed around the wash bucket?  Oh, Rose Art Studios, your composition skills wow and amaze….

Stay tuned tomorrow for Chapter One.

Thanksgiving (and a little Norman Rockwell)

How many times have you thought of Thanksgiving and also thought of this ubiquitous painting by American artist Norman Rockwell?  (Not that anyone in the history of time ever had a Thanksgiving that looked like this, but we like to think that we do…)  Anyway, seeing this picture again reminded me of a a fascinating article I read last month in Vanity Fair about the interesting process that Norman Rockwell actually used to create his paintings.  Rockwell used staged photographs (and plenty of them) to create the look and feel he wanted for his finished portraits.

The article is based from information from a newly published book on Rockwell called Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick.  The article and the book are both really a really interesting look into the creative process of one of our most overlooked artists.

Check it out – and happy Thanksgiving!

Vanity Fair: Norman Rockwell’s American Dream
Amazon.com: Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick

Worst Commercial Photoshop Ever


I’m definitely not a Photoshop expert, but even if I tried I could not pull off this disaster – found on the package for the Wii game Pet Vet. I am shocked that this would even make it out of a DeVry Photoshop I class –  let alone on to a real actual product.

I don’t know what’s worse: the freakishly giant rabbit?  The phony orange cat who’s not even in the same state? The fake hair on the Miley Cyrus look-alike?  (or, my favorite line from the Photoshop Disaster site this came from, “the horse with Hitler’s haircut?”)

I’ve seen a lot of bad Photoshop from people who don’t know what they’re doing and I’ve seen some really bad Photoshop from people who think they know what they’re doing – but I’ve never seen this bad of Photoshop from someone who is supposed to know what they’re doing!

Two words:  This sucks.

Photoshop Disasters

Mad Men & Mad Fonts


As any fan of Mad Men knows, the baby-daddy of the show, Matthew Weiner, is obsessed with getting every detail of Mad Men historically correct no matter how small… (The current season is set in 1963.) But, in this day and age it turns out there are people out there that are more obsessed than he – especially in the font department.  (New word of the day for me: historicism)

Turns out Weiner (or someone involved with the show) even stepped into the same shitstorm as IKEA did a few weeks ago, as they dared to use crappy Microsoft wanna-be Arial as his closing credit font (gasp!) instead of the classic and more age-appropriate Helvetica.  I think I’ve finally got it: when in doubt, never fuck with Helvetica or Futura!

The font in this ad for Season 3 seems to be, thankfully, age-appropriate and all’s right with the world again.  (Also, I really just wanted to post this shot of the gorgeous Don Draper aka Jon Hamm.)

If you’re interested in all the minutia, here’s a great article by Font God Mark Simonson from last year.

IKEA and Verdana-gate


Only a total nerd like me would find this utterly fascinating, but IKEA stepped into a small shitstorm this week with the release of their ubiquitous 2010 catalog by changing their signature typeface of Futura over to *gasp* – Verdana.  (For those of you who aren’t  typeface dorks, this is analogous in the design world to giving up your Christian Louboutins for a pair of Uggs.)

It’s more than just a font change – it’s an image change.  IKEA, for better or worse, is known for sleek and simple design philosophy and their choice of font for the past 50 years consciously and unconsciously reflected that.  (In fact, the company was so entwined with the font, that they had a proprietary version created for them – called Ikea Sans.)

Fast forward to now and IKEA decides to dump its customized Futura for the ungodly choice of Verdana.  Verdana, a Microsoft-created font, is probably what you see when you read 85% of web sites out there – as it should be as this is why it was created in the first place – to be read on your computer monitor.  It is not, however, a good typeface for print work, such as for oh, say – catalogs.  Considering the IKEA catalog prints more copies than the Bible or Harry Potter each year, this seems a bit of a bonehead move.  There is no elegance to this hideous font in print.

IKEA seems to be officially poo-pooing the contoversy, saying basically that no one outside the design industry cares about this issue.  But, you don’t have to be in the design industry to unconsciously infer that a font is ugly or a design isn’t working, and ultimately this will reflect on the brand.  It will be interesting to see if Verdana returns in 2011 – a number that looks great in Futura, by the way.

Oh, and Comic Sans is a fucking ugly-ass font that also happens to be from Microsoft. So ugly, in fact, that there is a group that wants to make it illegal to use.

Tales of a Graphic Designer: The Clueless Client


I’m very busy today trying to play catch up after basically languishing in my bed since last Friday.  But, I had to get a little annoyance off my chest about what I do for a living.  Please, read and repeat:

Dear Client:


Yes, I know it looks fine on the screen, but it is not for professional printing, dumbass.  I can’t just take the web graphic file and “go and print that.”  It doesn’t work that way.  I have to create a new graphic for you for print purposes.  I have explained this to you numerous times, but it doesn’t seem to ever sink in.  Here’s a big designer secret: To make it a print file, I have to make it high-resolution, which are not web graphics, which are low resolution.  (Except for those douchebags that place high-res graphics on their website thinking they are “better” because they are “bigger.”  Actually, they are just a waste of space.)  

It’s knowing these things why I get paid for my “easy” job and you do not.

 – Your Graphic Desinger

Just when I think I will lose it, I go to one of my favorite old sites, The Web Design Client Quote site, where frustrated designers post the dumbest comments from their idiot clients.  Makes me feel slightly better.

Back to work….

Tales of a Graphic Designer: The Wannabe Designer Client


Dear Client,
When you hired me, did you not know what you were paying me money for? Wasn’t it to DESIGN things for you because, you – being a SALESPERSON – do not know how to DESIGN things? Well, then why the hell do you bombard me with annoying emails telling me what fonts to use, graphics to use and how to put them together on your stupid web page? Isn’t that DESIGNING?

And so, because you have no idea what you are talking about – here is a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head for you.

Fuck you very much,
Your Graphic Designer