Friday, August 24, 2012

New Political Pimp designs!

As the elections ramp up to full-throttle, we thought we should do our part as Americans, as designers, and as huxters to create art that adds to the whole spectacle. Several months ago, ADG’s founder, Joel Anderson started creating few political prints to encourage folks to cut through the spin and find out what each party is really selling. (The candidates and the media are always selling us something. They might talk about the economy, but WE are actually producing products that create jobs and stimulate the economy!) We even set up a new store section on our web site called Political Pimp to make our cheeky, inspiring and irreverent designs available to poster fans of all political stripes.

After Republican Mitt Romney picked running mate Paul Ryan, and President Obama decided to stick with Joe Biden, we knew that the stage was set for a few months of entertaining full-out smack-down campaign combat. We asked our intern Aaron Johnson (who will be a full-time staff designer soon) to contribute 2 sets of designs for the under-30 crowd. Aaron delivered with the devilishly funny roll-play-card-game-inspired Campaign Combat series and the hip, adorable 8-bit Multi-Player Melee series.

Then veteran staff artist Ligia Teodosiu came up with 2 prints that celebrate great presidents from each party. The quotes she selected for each of the presidents are inspiring and informative.

The whole series has turned out to be a lot of fun... we hope they get people thinking about the issues, our economy, and our nation’s future.

After we finished all of the poster concepts. Joel took the designs and created 3 collectible postcard sets:
• One set for Republicans,
• Another set for Democrats,
• And a third set for folks who are either undecided, or just want to own a copy of every design in this series.

All the prints are for sale on our site from now until the elections, and they will be featured on in a sale that runs from August 30th to September 3rd.

These ready-to-frame designs look great on the wall. Get yours while you can—these are limited edition prints, and they are already going fast!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ram Trucks Ad Series

We were recently asked by The Richards Group, America's largest independent ad agency, to create a series of posters that would double as print ads for Ram trucks. They had seen our Art and Soul of America poster series, and really wanted to apply the rough, WPA-era aesthetic to their ad series.

The ads would be totally illustrated, and would feature the 2012 line of Ram Trucks in scenic vistas in and around various Texas State Parks. The fact that they would be completely illustrated was a big departure from most vehicle ads (and ads in general) because the item being advertised would be solely interpreted/displayed through illustration, which we believed was imperative to maintaining fidelity with the vintage style.

This was the mission: The Ram Truck brand would capture the beauty of Texas landscape in a series of 4 retro-inspired print ads Placed in the Annual Hunting and Fishing Guide. Ram Trucks would be the ‘Official Automotive Sponsor’ of the guide. They wanted us to help them create art like the Illustrative posters created in the 1930s and '40s that stirred the public’s imagination for travel and adventure. They sent us these old WPA posters for inspiration:

This is how the process worked: The creative team at the Richard’s Group wrote some great text for us to infuse into the poster designs. Their art direction team provided us with mock-ups of the general look and feel for each ad and poster, along with beautiful truck photography. Staff designer/illustrator Andy Gregg sketched up scenes that included the landscape, typography, and the truck. Then he set to work rendering 4 Ram Truck ads featuring illustrative renderings of the Lone Star state’s picturesque Rio Grande Valley, Balanced Rock, Enchanted Rock and Lighthouse Rock landscapes as settings for the Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition Outdoorsman, Ram 2500 Power Wagon, Ram 1500 Lone Star and Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn.

The designs took about a month to complete, and we decided to unify the designs more by style, rather than color palette. (A special thanks to intern Aaron Johnson for help with some of the backgrounds as turnaround got tight!)

One component of an authentic vintage poster design is typography. We did extensive research on classic hand-lettering. 2 sources of inspiration came from old bus tickets and from antique typewriter ribbon tins:

It was quite a job to capture the likeness of each vehicle, without adding too much detail. The vintage style prints we were emulating were screen printed in limited colors, so there was a fine line between rendering perfect detail and creating an authentic classic illustration. Andy handled it perfectly.

“This was the perfect opportunity to take a different creative approach,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC. “The use of vintage type-styles, hand-rendered illustrations and muted color palettes create a nostalgic approach to advertising art that we hope will resonate with consumers just as the original posters helped romanticize each national park destination.”

In addition to print ads, posters and postcard sets created from the advertising artwork. They are available for purchase at:

Here is a look at the 4 finished poster designs and postcard set:

Denny’s Tour of America

We have been selling our classic American travel posters in flash sale events on since summer of 2011. This national exposure—in addition to selling them on our own site—has caught the attention of art directors from some big national ad agencies. When the agency for Denny’s Restaurants (Erwin Penland) saw our classic American illustration and design work, they asked us if we could help them create a new look for the Denny’s Tour of America menu.

Each summer, Denny’s creates new all-American dishes for their menu, and they give it a travel theme. It made perfect sense to marry our vintage travel poster look with their menu concept. Our new pals at Erwin Penland (EP) were great to work with. They wrote the text, shot beautiful food photos, laid out the menu, and commissioned us to create 7 illustrations and a logo. The illustrations included: a menu cover and 6 American cities or regions that inspired special dishes featured in the Tour of America menu.

We started with the Tour of America logo. Staff artist Andy Gregg worked under Joel Anderson’s creative direction to design a logo that evoked the glory days of American road travel. After a few sketched concepts, the creative team at EP pitched our logo to the decision makers at Denny’s. They loved the design, and the process moved ahead with ease.

Next, the chefs in the Denny’s test kitchens developed some tasty looking new dishes. (We never got to sample the food during the process—we just got teased with gorgeous, mouth-watering photography of each featured menu item!)

Once the recipes were tested and confirmed, the art directors at EP assigned the 6 travel destinations that went with the menu items. We had our list of American cities & regions, and we set out to illustrate travel posters for each one. Andy worked on the menu cover, which was to suggest a taste bud adventure, exploring America from coast-to-coast. Joel worked with Ligia Teodosiu and Shelby Rodeffer and Andy Gregg to come up with the other 6 illustrations.

Once all of the illustrations were approved, the design team at EP took our art and skillfully integrated it into the menu design. The result was classic and delicious-looking!

Everyone liked the art so much, they wanted to see it as illustrated travel prints and collectible postcards. So we created the Denny’s Tour of America collection and now offer these beautiful posters and cards on our Studio Store site: (then click on SHOP and pull down the Denny’s Tour of America Collection.)

The campaign has been a success for Denny’s. We have enjoyed working with them and the great folks at Erwin Penland to blend classic art with modern advertising! Our pals at EP were proud of the outcome, too. To thank the folks at Denny’s corporate, they commissioned us to create a custom version of the menu cover that was framed and hung on the wall in the EP offices and teh Denny’s corporate headquarters. Notice how we added the EP and Denny’s corporate buildings to the landscape!