Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bank of Canada Style Guide

I came to this project late in the game. It had been floundering for three years, languishing in a prison created by entrenched positions, power struggles and resentment. I won't bore you with the details ... I arrived as a fresh face, unencumbered by history, and ready to put this to bed.
My first step was to interview all the stakeholders. To my surprise, everyone wanted very similar things. So as I started in on the designs, I made sure to focus all my language on outcomes, kept the conversation away from the personal and always on the product.
My experience in dealing with editors allowed me to speak their language and translate their vision to the layout. The previous version had the most atrocious clip art and editorial was adamant that it stay. Moving the conversation away from the art, I had them talk about itsfunction. They wanted to break up the text and add humour and colour to the pages. I suggested we find some art that could be repurposed to our needs, creating the feeling without creating clutter. I met Hazim Jalil through iStockphoto, bought some illustrations there and commisioned the rest.

Being a reference book, it required quick and easy navigation by the reader. I colour-coded the chapters and text elements so that every usage could be instantly identified.

The text contained inconsistencies in its information architecture, providing a clear set of rules to editorial moved my changes from personal opinion to functional decisions. If one item had to be changed, all similar items would need to be changed too ... all small scale changes were checked against the big picture.

Throwing things against a wall ...

The design of an annual report can be a long and involved process. When there are many stakeholders involved in the approval of the cover, you run the risk of a negative choice ... the cover that everyone doesn't hate, the least inspiring, mediocre choice. For the Bank of Canada I tried to ensure that every cover proposal I submitted would be one that could go to print; a cover that I would be proud to include in my portfolio ... so I did.

Monday, February 1, 2010

This was one of the last pieces I completed for Kayak magazine. Also one of the most difficult and most successful.

The Challenge here was to fit the entire spectrum of ingenuity of the the Inuit into six small pages. There was a lot of ground to cover. My first step was to create a page architecture, for the editor. Working together, we molded it into shape using a series of storyboard prototypes, test several different ways of organizing the information. Initially we had had the inventions listed encyclopedia style. This didn't work as it gave two much weight to some items and not others (as well, it was a bit boring).

In the end we found that an architecture based on themes worked best. It allowed us to deliver the information in a more conversational, kid-friendly, manner.

The article was then story-boarded and sent to the the illustrator, after which I completed the final design based on his excellent interpretation of the text.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Interior Design for Nelson Science Connections

These are some pages recently completed for Nelson Education. They are from a text book for the applied science stream in grades 9 and 10. For this job, I had to take and existing academic design and adapt to facilitate easier reading.

The text was broken into discreet sections and boxed to give students more digestible bites. Elements from Web 2.0 style design were sneaked in to give a sense of familiarity with the medium of choice.

The treatment of the page title and section introduction was taken from the magazine world, to give students an immediate overview of the forthcoming text.

Wayfinding elements have all been colour-coded, each unit has its own colour and each page, whether it belongs to a unit, a chapter or an appendix, were coloured accordingly.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nelson School Site

It's been a long time since my last post because of this project, Nelson Education Ltd. School. A work in progress, it won't be fully functional until Sept. 2009.

I have been in love with Trebuchet MS ever since I first saw it. When I found out that it was on just about every computer in the world, that made me even happier. When the Nelson school design came to me, I know that this professional/playful typeface would be perfect. Although the main pages still need design tweeks to bring it in line with my original designs, I'm very happy with how this page turned out. As you can see, it is almost 100% Trebuchet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Canadian Writer's Guide - Cover

These are a series of covers I submitted for the new Canadian Writer's Guide for Nelson Education Ltd. Three submissions were requested.

1) Retro style based on graphical shapes. I tried my best to channel Paul Rand and Saul Bass, with limited success. Still, I like the palette and will use it again.

2) Photographic style based on the idea of young people traveling. I used Flickr as my photo research to capture a candid/now feel. Plus it always feels gratifying to give amateurs a bit of extra cash to help in their hobby.

3) My own interpretation of the content. For this I took my cue from the Table of Contents provided with the creative brief. To me it resembled a street listing so I decided on using a map on the cover. Going with what may be the most familiar cartographic language to you people, Google Maps, I put this together, using the chapter titles as street names.

I was well satisfied when the decision-makers in this process picked submission #3. ^_^

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rejected! - Website.

This was an attempt at a monochromatic pixelly design for the french version of idée's website, submitted and rejected circa 2000. My eyes loved the sharp edges and tiny little high-contrast details. In retrospect, I can see why this proposal got passed over ... I was forgetting the user and the content and was letting the idea take over. It was all a bit too precious ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chick a DEE - Dr. Zed Storyboard - Writing

When the editor of Chick-a-DEE thinks of a science guy, he thinks of me. Perhaps it's because I paid attention to all my high school science classes; perhaps it's because the natural world will always be an endless source of fascination for me; perhaps it's because I know how to talk to kids in a way that credits their intelligence rather than assuming their ignorance. Either way, here's a storyboard I made for Chick-a-DEE in collaboration with the previously mentioned editor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Niagara Snap Shots - Photography

Recently, my partner and I took a crummy old plastic camera that we found at value village for $2.99. We cut the sticky part off of a postit note, covered half the frame inside the camera, and took some snapshots. We then rewound the film, covered the other half, and took some more. These are some of the better results.

Homage to Hockney - Photo Collage

When I was asked to go take some photos for a Hockney-esque collage, I jumped at it. Grabbing my camera and many rolls of film, I tore down to the bridge where the Humber River empties into Lake Ontario. It was early morning, sunrise, and being Toronto and all, I thought I would not have to worry about people interrupting the shot … boy was I wrong. The bridge was crammed with joggers, walkers, scooterers and cyclists. The only thing that saved me was being quick on the shutter and managing to snap a few shots on the rare occasions that the bridge was actually empty.

Every Superhero Needs a Hideout - Photography

There's no Photoshop manipulation here. This is a straight-from-the-film-development-house , double-exposed photo of a heroic lad in his superhero suit.

Ottawa Xpress - Covers/Pages

In 1998 I left Ottawa to go and live in Toronto. It was hard to leave my work as art director of the Ottawa XPress. Here are some covers and pages that I managed to scan (forgive the quality, newsprint doesn't age too well). Last time I picked up a copy, I couldn't find any evidence that I had ever directed its visual identity.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Snowball Earth - Writing

One of the highlights of creating each issue of Kayak, was the writing of its feature comic Snowball Earth, brought to life by the incredible talent of Kagan Mcleod. It was a fantastic combination of actual history, Norse mythology, controversial theory and a good deal of monster battling.
Although I could have kept this story running for years to come, the History Society wanted a comic that didn't need as much prior knowledge. So, once I wrapped this up with our heroes saving the world, I gave them the Card Shop, illustrated by John Martz.

As with all children, these characters have grown up and moved on to different things … like TVO for instance.