studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Do The Dew

Normally, I’m not a supporter of design “contests”, as it usually involves tons of free work with little or no incentive for the designer. That being said, I’m still somewhat hesitant to post this, but with a $10,000 prize, this “contest’s” incentive, is certainly head-and-shoulders above the competition.

Everything you need to know about the rules, regulations and deadlines can be found at the provided link. Good luck, and happy designing.

  • Mountain Dew Green Label Art
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    Friday, May 25, 2007


    I will be traveling through the middle of next week, and am 99.8% sure I will not post again until I return.



    Every Picture Tells a Story

    Ah, the rebus, assembled using the pictograph, which is based off the hieroglyph, who just happens to be the second cousin of the cave drawing. Wait, what was I talking about?

    Oh yes, rebus. Just in case you think it’s a made-up word, here is the meaning: a puzzle in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters.

    I bring up rebus because it’s the foundation for this saucy little ad campaign created by Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. Saatchi utilizes a series of pictographs, organized in timeline fashion, to cleverly position 42 Below Vodka.

    A few things I really like about this campaign: first, no text or photographs — it’s rare to find a set of ads with concepts and depictions so tight that any additional elements would be viewed as overkill. Second, the reward is worth the effort — the entire series is like an adult-oriented decoder ring, only those willing to participate and decipher get to enjoy the hidden meanings. Third, the ads are seemingly innocent, but unquestionably racy — my initial reaction, there is no way these ads would show up in mainstream US publications (with the possible exception of Playboy or Maxim), however, after learning that 42 Below is a New Zealand-based company, I would guess the ads are geared less at the US and more towards a less conservative global market. Fourth, and most importantly, the use of the kitty pictographs are brilliant — outstanding way to make a not-so-subtle allusion, without having to cross into vulgarity. Meow.

    I have included my two favorite ads as examples, the following link will allow you to check out the entire 42 Below collection.

    42 Below Campaign

    P.S. — Since I’m on the pictograph topic, here is a little gem from the 1830s. Historic rebus, if you will.

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    Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    Burn Back

    70s inspired metal band? Check.

    Clients telling you how to do your job? Check.

    Making the Logo bigger? Double-Check.

    Speaker volume at an uncomfortable level? You know it.

  • Make The Logo Bigger
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    Friday, May 18, 2007


    I thought I might send you into the weekend with a teaspoon of awkwardness, a dash of the perplexing, followed by a heaping cup of the horrible, yet strangely appealing.

    That’s right folk’s, I stumbled upon a warehouse of celebrity doppelgängers — those eerily fascinating, yet totally make-funable hangers-on of the celebrity world. Individuals, who, for the most part, look very little like their celebrity counterpart, yet make a living by convincing themselves and others, that they are in fact someone famous.

    As I looked through the 200 or so doppelgängers, it became quite clear that only a handful might be able to pull off a celebrity swap. In most cases though, the closest similarities I could find were the possession of a head and ten fingers. I’m confident that I could convince as many people as the doppelgänger that I am Drew Barrymore, and even though I’m a thirty-one year old male, I see no problem in accomplishing this task.

    I think the prerequisites for becoming a celebrity doppelgänger, are the following:

    1. Be the same race as the celebrity.
    * Except in the case of Michael Jackson, because I’m pretty sure that’s a white guy pictured below.

    2. Be born within five years of the celebrity.
    * Except in the case of a celebrity icon, in which case, you must appear the age of the icon in their prime.

    3. Weigh within 20 pounds of the celebrity (although this rule seems lax in some cases).

    4. Have the same hair style, or wear the same clothing / accessories as the celebrity during their most famous role / appearance / performance.

    5. Have features that are somewhat similar, yet mostly inferior to the celebrity.

    6. You’re Hired!

    I’m actually having a hard time coming up with a job that could be any more awkward than an actor/actress doppelgänger. At least if you are playing the part of a musician or performer, the doppelgänger can distance themselves by being on stage, but an actor / actress, how does that work? Do they just walk around talking to people as if they actually are the celebrity? Do people actually call them by the celebrity name? Do they sign fake autographs and pose for fake-celebrity pictures? My curiosity is at a fever pitch, someone provide me some insight!

    Below, I did a little side-by-side comparison of the fakes vs. the reals. I didn’t feel the need to label the images, mainly because I wanted you to enjoy the shocking similarities for yourselves. Take this opportunity to become a Sherlock Holmes doppelganger, if only for a fleeting moment.

    In all fairness, I will offer you a hint — if the person looks so unlike the other, that the celebrity’s name needs to plastered across the photo at 100-point type, there is the off chance that that might be an imposter. Also of note, the crazy caveman looking Rambo is actually neither Sly Stallone nor a doppelgänger, just some random Rambo costume I thought was too funny not to include. Oh, and the Leo doppelgänger — without a doubt, chick magnet.

    Check out the entire stable of doppelgängers for yourself — it’s hours of unadulterated fun:

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    Red Silas

    Christopher Silas Neal has an effectively simple portfolio site packed with interesting illustrations, editorial work and drawings.

    His style is pretty compelling, and appears to be a created using a mixture of hand drawn elements, linoleum / woodblock cuts, and possibly some watercolor thrown in for good measure — of course I’m completely guessing as to his technique, but however he creates his illustrations, it’s certainly working for him.

    Silas’ work is engaging and definitely worth a bookmark, especially if you are a fan of hand-drawn type, which appears to be one of the signature aspects of his printed work.

  • Christopher Silas Neal
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    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    Leibovitz Retrospective

    If you plan to be in the Atlanta area, on before September 9th, you might want to stop by the High Museum of Art. Famed Rock n’ Roll and editorial photographer Annie Leibovitz is featured in a large retrospective exhibition, which includes 175 images taken between, 1990 – 2005.

    The exhibition details are linked below.

  • Leibovitz, High Museum of Art Atlanta
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    San Francisco Ink

    If your three favorite things are paintings, girls and tattoos, then Shawn Barber’s new body of work will definitely kick your tires and light your fires.

    His series, Tattooed Portraits, integrates a masterful mix of artistic emotion, confident technique and outstanding color palette. Each painting takes on the personality and attitude of the subject; however, the constant flow of tattoos helps to keep the paintings visually interesting and unified under the series theme. Overall, it’s really an impressive body of work.

    Tattooed Portraits, is currently being exhibited at The Shooting Gallery, San Francisco.

  • Shawn Barber
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    Monday, May 14, 2007

    So Sorry

    I apologize if you felt alone, neglected or abandoned last week due to my absence; occasionally I like to disappear without warning — it keeps me virile and unpredictable.

    Actually, I needed a few days off from blogging and email to get caught up on a bunch of work, and more importantly, for the sake of my me(n)tal health. The only contact I had with the outside world was my girlfriend, because she insisted on returning home each day after work, and my Mom, due to the fact it was Mother’s Day, and also because she tolerated being sliced-open so the doctor could yank me out — yep, I figure she earned that 10-minute phone call. Thanks, Mom.



    Friday, May 4, 2007

    My Humps

    Until last week, I was convinced the Black Eyed Peas, My Humps, was the worst song ever conceived. Its thought-provoking lyrics such as, “What you gon’ do with all that ass? All that ass inside them jeans?” is nothing short of lyrical libretto.

    Well, as it turns out, the best of the worst now has a challenger — My Humps, redux. That’s right folks; My Humps is back in the form of Alanis Morissette.

    The girl who likes to go down on you in a theater, has decided to cover My Humps in her own special way. By special, I mean as dreadful as the original, yet somehow, even more grating. I think she’s attempting to parody, or make some statement or create some kind of metaphor or something, but I was too busy wiping the blood from my eardrums and eye sockets to fully understand her intent.

    I have been kind enough to provide links to the original and cover, allowing you to compare and contrast, while choosing the winner for yourself. Only in this case there are no winners, only a sad emptiness in my stomach and bleeding from my ears. Umm, enjoy?

    Oh, and just in case you want to follow along, here are the lyrics

    The Original

  • Black Eyed Peas, My Humps

  • The Cover

  • Alanis Morissette, My Humps
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    Thursday, May 3, 2007

    K ERNI N G 1 0 1

    Late last night, I was searching through hundreds of old movie posters looking for some typographic ingenuity. After a solid hour of flirting with the Horror and Drama genres, I decided to slide on over to Action. Ah, glorious Action, with your minimal plot lines and over-the-top effects, how I adore you. Within minutes of searching through the Action posters, my focus became clear, find the most bitchin’ Dolph Lundgren poster ever conceived. Why this task, you ask? I can only respond...Why is the grass green? Why do people insist on putting Rosie O’Donnell in front of a television camera? Why does it consistently and unexpectedly thunder and lightning when I’m outside grilling near an exposed flame and open propane tank?

    During my quest to identify and crown the king of the Lundgren’s, a terrible thing occurred — I came face-to-face with the Direct Action poster.

    Did the photoshopped bruise on Dolph’s left cheek disgust me? No. Was I intimidated by his cross-eyed stare and stone-cold vigilante face? Hardly. Did his Ironman digital watch or shirtsleeve-as-tourniquet trick distract me? Please. Was I irritated by the six-word tagline broken into four separate lines, resulting in a widow* infested pseudo-column? Most certainly. What remaining element struck fear in my heart and offended every design sensibility in my being? The Direct Action logotype — which, my friends, is without a doubt, nothing short of typographic heresy.

    Perhaps my reaction is a bit excessive, and those with an untrained eye will say, “So what, it’s just some frikkin’ type?”

    It’s true, it’s just some type, but it’s also some bastardized, not-even-attempted-to-be-kerned type. This I can’t ignore. This ladies and gentlemen, drives me absolutely nuts.

    Before I even get to the kerning, here is a comparison of the two C’s used in the logotype. I mean seriously, what the hell?

    I simply cannot think of one acceptable reason as to why these letterforms are not the same size and shape. What’s even more confusing is that the designer had to go out of his or her way to manipulate the letterforms to achieve this. I can hear the internal dialogue now, “You know, this typeface looks too good as it is, I think it needs to suck more, maybe if I pull and stretch it a little, awww yeah, that’s hot”. It’s a good thing that Eric Gill is deceased, because if he were alive to see his Gill Sans abused like a baby’s diaper, he would probably be rocking in the fetal position, muttering phrases like: Can one man, Lundgren, beveled-edges and Action...ACTION.

    Okay, enough with Gill. I need to focus my attention on the aforementioned kerning issue by offering typographic know-how for the greater good. If you are unfamiliar with the word “kern”, it’s a term used in typography that means adjusting the space between letterforms so they appear to be equal distance from one another.

    For the sake of example, I have recreated the Direct Action logotype without all the fancy beveled-edges and gritty lava-colored effects (Yes, I am fully aware that I’m a dork). Black and white is the manner in which type should be evaluated, because evil is easily recognized in its purest form. On the left side of the C’s, is a huge gap, large enough to require a Tarzan-like vine to cross it, or spelunking gear to explore it — in other words, it’s wrong. On the right side of the C’s, you will notice the T’s have demanded restraining orders, due to the violation of personal space — different offense, but equally wrong.

    Using ten transparent dots, I have flagged the main areas that require adjusting. A quality designer will take the time to reposition each letter, to ensure even visual spacing and letterform harmony. A typographic Pet Sounds, if you will.

    The illustration below shows the shifting of the letters. As a reference point, I have aligned the A’s in “Action” from the original and my version. The areas in purple are the original type, the areas in orange with black outline, are my corrections (and the solid pink shows areas of overlap).

    Here is the revised logotype that even Dolph Lundgren would appreciate:

    Whew! Future catastrophes avoided. Since that’s taken care of, I can now return to the task at hand, showing you the baddest-of-the-bad, the mayor of Lundgrenville — The 1987, Masters of the Universe, French edition movie poster.

    I mean honestly, what’s not to love about this poster? Any 24 x 36 inch space that can integrate oodles of hetero and homosexual undertones with the French language, a mullet, a male Speedo / leotard and a gun-toting pixie-sized Courtney Cox, is unquestionably top-notch. Even the style is fantastic. If Star Wars, Mad Max, Fabio and every Journey album cover since 1978, engaged in a night of drinking and debauchery, I’m guessing the illegitimate offspring might look a little something like this. There you have it, Masters of the Universe, Lundgren style.

    I’m sorry to say that it’s time we Faithfully go our Separate Ways.

    *Widow - undesirable typographic term that refers to a single word (typically eight letters or less) that has been left on its own line of type, causing too much white space or an interruption to the reader’s eye.

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