Tag Archives: music

WMC Fest 2012 overview

17 Jul

As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest in Cleveland, OH. Throw out all of your preconceptions of your traditional, stuffy conference folks. This conference boasted of 20 speakers, 20 featured designers, and over 30 bands and it was like something I’ve never experienced…in a really good way. WMC Fest was founded by designer and illustrator Jeff Finley, partner of Go Media, a Cleveland-based, full-service agency. Jeff and his team have planned, organized, and executed an amazing experience for designers, writers, and creators in a centralized, mid-west environment that is Cleveland, Ohio.

This year’s activities were broken up into three venues; the Reinberger Auditorium, Saigon Plaza, and iLTHY Workshop. Fortunately for the organizers and the attendees, these three separate buildings are in close proximity to one other.


The Reinberger Auditorium boasts of a intimate setting for the speakers to give their talk, which at times may have been more intimate than the speakers would want. For several of the presentations, people spilled onto the stage while they did their talk. It kind of gave that punk rock show feel, which I thought was cool.


Saigon Plaza housed the 30+ bands for the weekend on two stages (inside and outside), as well as the pre-fest mixer, and a breakdance competition. Because of the heat that weekend, it made for a rather warm setting. Only after the sun went down, could you slip outside, enjoy several drinks, and escape the heat.


The iLTHY Workshop allowed 20 designers to showcase some of their work in the Art & Design Show gallery. Also inside the iLTHY space were many other designers selling their prints, T-shirts, books, pennants, and stickers.

Overall, Weapons of Mass Creation 3 was extremely fun and rewarding. I met some really great people and got to hear designers who I’ve admired for quite some time speak and had the opportunity to talk with them after their presentation on a one-on-one level. It’s events like this that transform (in my head, at least) well-known design superstars into normal, everyday people, just like you and I. We all do the same thing; create for a living. If we can connect at that personal level and leave the pretentiousness at the door, our community will continue to get  better and stronger. I’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in this year’s fest. It was a huge success and I hope to make it next year.

I will be making 2 more WMC Fest-related posts in the next few days, highlighting the speakers of this year’s event. Stay tuned.

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PressPausePlay

1 Mar

I went to a viewing of PressPausePlay Tuesday night, hosted by the Virigina Tech AIGA chapter. It is a fantastically filmed/edited/designed documentary, talking with some of the world’s most influential authors, musicians, directors, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Over the past 10 years, our culture has turned into a technological grab bag of sorts, where you can create just about anything in the comfort of your bedroom. The points and counterpoints from those who were interviewed for the film were asking if this flood of content, ranging from ‘trash’ to ‘excellent’ content (whether that be music, design, video editing, etc.) is a good or bad thing? Is the crap work choking out all of the great work, not allowing it to be seen? Does great content only available through the big production companies, or can equal-quality work come from a guy sitting in his basement?

The take-away from this film (that I got from it, at least) was that yes, there are a ton of creative people out there. Some professionally trained, some not. Some have natural talent and others don’t. Most of the time, the ones that seem to be able to wade above the sea of crappy work are the ones that have a good design sense, have some sort of basic knowledge about design/music/rhythm. Basically, a strong foundation. That might be attributed to formal schooling, hands-on training from a mentor, industry experience, a combination of all or some of these or whatever. My thought is if you have that solid foundation, you have a better chance of being found and excelling in your respective industry. No matter if you are up-to-date on the latest software out there, with all of those fancy tools, you still need a firm grasp on the basics. It certainly will help if you are well-versed with the latest and greatest software and other gadgetry, but it’s not a must.

After the film was over, Tim Austin, a student in the Visual Communications Design program at Virginia Tech, asked the other students if they thought they were at disadvantage because they were brought up in a digital age and surrounded by technology in their formative years? There was a general consensus that as long as you knew your stuff, you’d do fine. Being in the design industry for 10 years now, and having done some hands on non-digital “stuff” (screen printing, film development, offset printing, old-fashioned paste up), I can say I respect the history of the craft. I’m not sure if that’s an advantage or not, but I don’t think it hurts to know how certain processes used to be done.

So, if you haven’t already seen this movie, download it and watch it. Do you think the glut of mediocre work out there is overwhelming the great work? I’m interested to see what others think on this topic, so add a comment below.

Michael Jeter

27 May

Michael Jeter is a full-bearded San Francisco, CA-based graphic designer, illustrator, animator, and art director currently working for I Shot Him. He is also the co-creator and curator of the Black Harbor, an “online art and design magazine featuring prominent young designers, illustrators, photographers, film-makers, and dreamers.” I’d say that’s an understatement. The work they feature is super top-notch and very impressive, sometimes showing process, others just straight-up bad ass illustration work.

Michael’s work definitely fits in the same “super bad ass illustration” category. Technical, detailed, sometimes dark and creepy, and others which have a vintage feel with tons of texture. His Sexy, Sex, Sex posters that were featured in O.K. Periodical’s body issue are truly hilarious and awesome.

Fantastic stuff, Michael!

(via Evan Stremke/twitter)

Joe Geis

23 May

Joe Geis is a NYC-based graphic designer, who currently works for Myspace as a design strategist. I’m guessing that has to deal with a fair amount of research, concepting, and mass quantities of caffeine. It sounds like doing that type of work would be a lot of fun, and definitely keep you on the forefront of what’s happening on the interwebs and in design. Of course, I could be horribly wrong and Joe might hate what he does.

He also is the co-Founder and creative director of Formatic Clothing. Having a clothing company of my own, I really dig the designs and concepts behind Formatic. It’s like the ‘do it now and see what happens’ approach. Big, bold, but personal.

What really stands out to me about Joe’s work is the typography. Even if he’s not using a super clean typeface, it’s simple and effective. He seems to have a knack for branding; whether it would be for a singer/band, record label, or for a clothing company.

Great stuff, Joe! Thanks for the inspiration and for following on twitter.

Ed Nacional

9 May

Ed Nacional is a NYC-based freelance graphic designer, illustrator, and typographer with a cool style. His designs are simple and graphic and have a vintage feel (60s, 70s), sometimes utilizing textures, other times as clean as they come. Ed has done editorial illustration work for Time Magazine, The New York Times, and Money Magazine, all having a clever sense of humor about them. His info graphics are wonderful and smart. When necessary, he’s even used old newspaper or from his collection of neck ties (acquired from his dad, bought at flea markets, or thrift stores, as well as a few brand new ones) to create type. Very cool, Ed!

(via The Live Now Project)

Heath Killen

6 May

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Heath Killen is an Australia-based graphic designer and illustrator who has a rather unique style. It’s a mix of hand-illustrated pieces, photo montage, and sometimes a combination of computer-generated and/or handwritten type, which has a very nice balance. The photo placement and cropping are interesting in themselves, then he adds in the type, color, and texture which makes each piece even more intriguing.

Heath has designed a ton of self-initiated spec. work for film, music, and the arts. I think these production companies should take note and hire this guy to do their actual promo art for their movie/music/theater productions.

Wonderful work, Heath! Thanks for the inspiration.

(via Skinny Ships)

Ryan Feerer

3 May


Ryan Feerer is a graphic designer, illustrator, and instructor based in Abilene, TX. He got his education in Texas and NYC, and at the School of Visual Arts, learned from some of the best in the business (Steven Heller, Milton Glaser, and Stefan Sagmeister, to name a few). He earned his masters in design, then worked at Funny Garbage in NYC for a few years as a web designer. There, he worked with kid-friendly clients such as Teen Nick, Nicktoons, PBS kids, HIT Entertainment, and the always-adorable Lil Jon. He then picked up with his wife and moved back to Texas, where he recently help form Abidesco (Abilene Design Co.). He also teaches at Abilene Christian University where he got his undergrad and where his passion for design started. Full circle.

Ryan’s style is very hands-on. Lots of hand-drawn type, flourishes, and truck-loads of character. I really enjoyed the series of portraits that he did, that were sold on an artsy, online store called Elsewares. I wonder if Ryan would be willing to draw me and my family (hint, hint). I also loved the identity he did for Betty & June, a boutique in Abilene, Texas, where he chose to hand-stampe all of the bags, tags, and business cards. Nice touch.

I get the feeling that he really enjoys what he does. It certainly shows through the work he has done. Great stuff, Ryan! Thanks for the inspiration.

(via Jeff Rogers)

Grain and Gram

29 Apr

Grain and Gram: the New Gentleman’s Journal, is a website that features true craftsman. The layout of this site is very mathematical. Clean, crispy, full of wonderful illustrations/graphs, white space, and nice typography. The videos and photos are absolutely beautiful. While watching the video of Nick Sambrato, a letterpress printer from Orlando, FL, I kept looking behind me because it felt like I was secretly looking at something I shouldn’t have been. It’s like craftsman porn. My favorite thing about this site is that through these profiles, you can tell these guys truly love what they do, and that means a lot.

I can’t wait to see more from Grain and Gram.

(via Parliament)

Jeff Rogers

27 Apr

Jeff Rogers is a New York City-based graphic designer, art director, and illustrator who has been working as a designer at SpotCo creating key art for broadway shows since 2008. He also does a fair amount of freelance design and illustration. Jeff’s style is definitely hand-crafted, which is a little messy, but absolutely beautiful. Continuing with his hand-drawn techniques, he also seems to use a lot of typography and illustration in his work, too. It may be the colors he chooses, but it seems to have a vintage, 50s feel to it.

Really nice, original work, Jeff! Thanks for the inspiration.

Brandon Rike

26 Apr

Brandon Rike is a Columbus, OH-based graphic designer who appears to be a dude who would beat you up just because he can. That might be the case, but he has designed tons for t-shirt designs for music-industry tough guys like the Backstreet Boys, Big Time Rush, and Adam Lambert. Brandon’s also done work for Billy Idol, Deftones, Motley Crue, Nirvana, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against the Machine, and Billy Joel just to name a few more.

Brandon launched his new promotional website a few months ago, and I have to say, it looks killer. He’s been a one-man design show since 2006, and has been building a rather impressive client list since then. No wonder these bands (and their managers/marketing people) keep coming back for more. The dude does solid work 100% of the time.

If I tell you that you do great work, will you promise not to beat me up? Good stuff, Brandon! 🙂

(via Jeff Finley)