July 6, 2024

Creating Your Own Competition

The funny thing to me about ad agencies is that, especially as you get to the higher levels you aren't paying people to work for you as much as you are paying them to not compete against you.

I wrote this the other week and it mildly blew up. A week later the former ECD's at GS&P New York announced their new agency (post layoff) would be taking Liberty Mutual with them.

May 30, 2024

More SF

The other month I did a digital illustration of San Francisco and it let me reflect on personal style, something I never really thought I had because I was a bit embarrassed about my own artistic process. After some more work in Procreate and learning about other artists process, I've come to embrace my style more and actively want to make more work in it.

When I was in San Francisco the other month for a wedding, I took a photo from the elevator of our Union Square hotel that looked out towards Coit Tower. I knew right away that it would be my next piece.

Over the past month I worked on this as time allowed and I generally feel more ownership over it since this was based on a photo I actually shot vs. trying to adapt someone else's source material.

May 29, 2024

Baby Bella Bourbon

This past weekend I hosted a small party for my daughter since most of my LA friends hadn't been able to meet her yet. I wanted to play off the idea of a "sip-n-see" so I combined a bourbon bottle with a baby nipple, using the label as the space for the party info.

I saved it over a transparent background, again knowing that as I texted the invite out depending on when recipients read it would determine if their background was black or white and wanting it to look good on either.

Finally, the bottom line on the label is a repeat because it replaced my address, not about to just casually post that online.

This was created entirely in Procreate on my iPad.

May 17, 2024

Cat Typography

I wanted to explore what the process would be to create a bespoke font using AI. I probably should have picked something easier because cutting out cat hair on a cat is already a pain, but everything else should be easier by comparison.

Adobe Firefly was my generator for each letter, then each finished and arranged in Photoshop the old fashioned way. I'm not sure how long something like this would have taken to do in Blender or Cinema 4D, but I don't know either so I guess the answer is an infinite amount.

May 10, 2024

Invitation Design

My wife, daughter and I traveled to Atlanta last weekend so that she could visit my hometown for the first time and meet all of my and my parents friends. I wanted to make an invitation for the event and thought there might be room to play with the medium a bit.

Normally die cut and print invitations are going to be out of budget for a small event like this, but when you're sending something digitally there isn't really a production cost.

I thought about how I'd just be texting the invites to people so shape wasn't really an issue. I could do whatever. What I did have to account for though was day/night mode on people's phones. Since the background could be white or black depending on the time of day I realized I needed to export as a png so it would appear correctly whenever it was viewed.

A minor thing, but you'd be surprised how many people default to squares and rectangles for purely digital executions.

May 2, 2024

Flat Iron

When I lived in New York I was always drawn to the Flat Iron Building. I couldn't really explain why, but there was just something about it I always loved. Then while talking to my mom one day she told me that her dad used to have an office in the building. More than likely a coincidence, but a nice one regardless.

I took a photo of the building years ago and decided to illustrate it.

April 29, 2024

AIDC Redux

I posted about my AIDC boxes on LinkedIn last week and the post had a minor blowup. 30k+ views and almost 250 likes with lots of well wishes and compliments. Not too bad for the investment.

April 11, 2024

AI Directors Club

If everyone is focusing on cold emailing and LinkedIn messages to reach out to people, maybe the way to cut through is to get something physical in their hands.

Enter the Artificial Intelligence Directors Club, a parody of the Art Directors Club. I built a welcome kit of sorts and targeted five high-level creatives at some of the top agencies in Los Angeles.

Storyline

The AI Directors Club has created an AI based on each creative's career and that AI is being inducted into the inaugural class. The kit then invites the creatives to meet their AI doppelgänger (pictured in the included photo) by scanning a QR code. Once scanned, they are taken to a hidden page on my website with a personalized message, some bullet points about myself and my portfolio. An added advantage was that my site analytics could track if/when each journey was completed.

Process

Each box took about 3-4 hours to make with an additional 2 hours each assembling all the other physical and digital components. Each base box was purchased from Michael’s for $7. I created a stencil of the design on card stock and then traced it onto each box. I then wood burned and carved the design before staining and lacquering each.

Completed Boxes

I used Brothers as my base font for the insert and modified it for the first name while leaving it standard for the last. I filled them with hatching to create texture. Four of the kits were oriented vertically with one horizontal, the insert layout was adjusted accordingly. I shredded black and white card stock (4:1 ratio) to create the base the frames would rest on. I used twine to secure each box closed and then attached a hand cut tag.

Portraits

The portraits were made with Midjourney and finished in Photoshop. The frames were purchased off Amazon for $7 each.

Delivery

The boxes went out on April 11. I dressed up as a courier and drove to each agency. Apparently nobody questions you if you are holding a clipboard and a semi-official looking form.

Results

As of present 4 of the 5 recipients opened the box and scanned the QR code. That's nearly twice the standard open rate for most direct mail campaigns (42.2% according to the Print and Mail Communications Association). The open rate for e-mails is around 21.5%. I also talked to a recruiter from one of the agencies two days after I posted about the boxes.

April 8, 2024

Pizza Party

Was at my in-laws last night and had my iPad so I started a doodle in Procreate and it turned into this.

April 5, 2024

Lamenting a Lack of Leadership

For a few weeks now I'd been discussing with friends my frustration with agency leaders who had been dead quiet on what was happening in the industry right now. After some encouragement from my friend TJ Bennett I decided to go ahead and write about it.

I do wonder if me speaking up about about issues I see in the industry makes things harder on myself in terms of finding work, but I'm not the type to shy away from hard discussions. After all, we can't fix things we don't want to talk about.

It seems to have struck a chord though with over 13k views and 160+ likes. Apparently I wasn't the only person who had noticed.

March 23, 2024

Generative AI

I wanted a better way to show off my generative AI abilities so I built a new page on my site to showcase the things I've made. I also made a new image in my series of my daughter after a few months of not adding to it. You can see the page here and the new image below.

March 4, 2024

Motion Graphics Business Card

I've been playing with motion graphics on and off for like 11 years now. I wouldn't say I'm great at it by any means, but over time you do tend to pick up little things that can add up.

So maybe I'm not as terrible as I think, but I can at least do basic stuff. Or rather, I can figure out ways to make certain things in a way that I actually know how to do them. It's probably like this for a lot of people across different skill sets though. Nothing is super complicated if you have enough random know how to figure out how to deconstruct it and put it back together with the toolbox you have.