It began in the usual way, with an email query about designing a gift card for Macy’s men’s store. I responded promptly including links to my best work.
Thus began my hopeful adventure to create something that would not only be widely viewed but, also facilitate the admirable practice of gift-giving.
I proceeded on the journey by spending a pleasant afternoon on 34th Street in the world’s largest department store going from register to register scoping out the variety of colorful and festive gift cards.
Although I was sent sample of my previous work as inspiration, I dilligently sketched out a variety of options. It’s always useful to provide choices and, you never know...
from my b/w roughs, made it clear I should not veer too far from the sample. Since it was a piece that I had always likeed, I proceeded happily to appropriate my own work.
Art Director Alexis was very helpful to work with. She asked for only a few moderate explorations following the first color sketch. I can only imaging the torturous meetings from which she shielded me. Illustrators who complain about the adjustments or modifications need only attend one meeting with the “powers that be” to be forever gratful for the interference frequently run on their behalf.
It began with an email query about designing a gift card for Macy’s men’s store. I responded promptly including links to my work. When the answer came back that we were good to go, they included an image of mine that they liked.
Thus began my hopeful adventure to create something that would not only receive wide exposure but, also facilitate the admirable practice of gift-giving.
I proceeded on the journey by spending a pleasant afternoon on 34th Street in the World’s Largest Department Store going from register to register scoping out the variety of colorful and festive gift cards.
Although I was sent the sample of my previous work as inspiration, I dilligently sketched out a variety of other options. It’s nice to have choices and, you never know...
Their pick from my b/w roughs, made it clear I should not veer too far from the sample. Since it was a piece that I had always likeed, I proceeded happily to appropriate my own work.
Art Director Alexis was a pleasure to work with. She helped me stay in focus and showed the encouragement and trust that allowed me to do my best work. She asked for a few moderate adjustments but, they were minor and made good sense. I can only imagine the torturous meetings from which she shielded me. Illustrators who complain about changes need only attend one meeting with the “powers that be” to be forever grateful for the interference frequently run on their behalf.
On the left the kind of email nobody doesn't like to receive. On the right a sample they chose as inspiration for the card.
A roundup of roughs following the inspiration sample but, also exploring a other options I felt might work.
The selected rough placed as a template in Adobe Illustrator, the beginnings of exploring typographic options and refining into a tight b/w sketch.
A final tight sketch in b/w with and adjustment to the typography inspired by another previous job and a color sketch.
Refining the palette and a few more color/design options resulted in these six versions from which the final choice was made.
I make letterforms that are as much illustration as they are typography but, sometimes the characters are simply a shape that the illustration sits within. In the longstanding tradition of large letter postcards, here are a couple recent and a few more well-aged examples.
Left: A gently flowing river is framed in the letters of a travel decal.
Could've fooled me that this was just a travel postcard and not an illustration for the NYTimes.
The Avett Brothers welcome you from a souvenir t-shirt design.
A peek at the blueprints when there was speculation about the shape of the new World Trade Center.
When in doubt, put some pretty pictures inside some fat blocky, dimensional lettering.
The sad state of news from the state where I was born.
A very early piece done in pre-seperated flat (mostly) colors.
Apparently, something's been going on in New Jersey for 20 years. (More like 40 at this point).
Decades ago, I sat in the chilly offices of International Typeface Corporation and, in the glow of a space heater, listened to Director of Typeface Development, Ilene Strizver suggest that I could make fonts.
Today, more than a score of years and fonts later, Ilene has honored me with a lovely article about my work and process. Not too shabby from the premiere maven of typography for designers. Learn more about Ilene at The Type Studio.
Also, check out the 4th edition of her incredible book Type Rules! The Designer's Guide to Professional Typography.
During the past few months, I've illustrated a weekly piece for the NY Times Real Estate section. It's a Q and A about the trials of apartment living, with reponses from real estate and legal professionals.
I love nothing more than getting a manscript, panicking, and forging through to beat the deadline. Add the challenge of an awkwardly narrow horizontal space, and you get an idea of why I love my job so much.
A gracious tip-of-the-hat to the most wonderful Carol Dietz for keeping me on my toes.
Oh yeah, and I've been doing my sketches on the iPad Pro in ProCreate. So, check out these sketch videos for blocked window and home office.
Is a co-op required to report break-Ins to shareholders?
An apartment with a mold problem and a "special paint" to resolve it nowhere to be found.
Is it necessary to disclose tentative plans for a home office during a co-op interview?
A mysterious noise seems to be coming from the new building next door. What to do about it?
The building next door is so brightly lit, it’s as if the sun is shining into my bedroom at midnight. Is that legal?
Is the co-op liable if children get hurt playing in common areas?
If a new building next door blocks our kitchen window, is the co-op responsible for a cosmetic fix?
If the president of a condo board is dating the building’s superintendent, should residents be concerned?
What to do if the seller backs out.
Getting rid of miserable roommates.
For some first-time buyers, renting might actually be cheaper, both in the short- and long-term.