Friday, January 31, 2014

Pressers Playing Cards

Last year we were approached by Ellusionist, a company that makes playing cards and instructional videos for magicians. Wanting to branch out with the look of their cards they looked to us to create a vintage deck of cards based in 60s advertising. They were inspired by the hit TV series Madmen and we wanted to give them something that felt at home in that era of design.

Illustrator Aaron Johnson always has an ace up his sleeve. His first set of sketches left the client speechless.

The card backs probably had the most time devoted while we explored different looks to fit the art style. Aaron probably made over two dozen!

Thankfully the look of the Court cards (Jack, Queen, King) was decided early on. From that point on it became a matter of rendering out all twelve of them. They had to interlock perfectly so that when viewed from either top or bottom the design would mirror itself.

This is the part where we typically show in progress shots of illustration but instead we pulled something new out of our hat. It's a video!

After a lot of illustrating all twelve court cards plus the ace and joker were finished. We suspect Aaron is secretly a smartly dressed robot.

With all the cards done we turned it back over to Ellusionist who made their own tweaks and finished out the box packaging. Take a look at the finished deck!

You can purchase a Pressers deck for yourself here on Ellusionist's website!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Southern Hospitality Wall Calendar

Each year, we partner with McQuiddy Printing and one of our favorite paper companies to produce a promotional calendar. These 3-way promotions are an affordable and fun way to create a very nice piece that would otherwise be too costly to produce. The printer contributes their printing services, the paper company contributes paper, and we contribute our illustration and design services. Then each company has a nice stack promotional calendars to showcase our products and skills.

This year, French Paper stepped up to showcase their awesome Smart White uncoated paper. It’s a great paper for printing our vintage-looking poster art, which was an especially good fit for this year’s theme! The 2014 calendar concept was an easy one for us to choose—there has been such a buzz about Nashville for the last 2 years, as well as all things Southern—so we decided to create a calendar that celebrates the South and offers some cultural assistance for all our our friends and clients who are not from around these parts!

The 2014 Southern Hospitality calendar is full of Southern sayings, expressions, wit and charm. It also features 13 ready-to-frame prints that we created for our Southern Delights poster collection.

The calendar cover is an adaptation of our Great Southern Brood Cicada Invasion print created by former staff artist Andy Gregg. (We are into recycling!) The interior posters were created by our team of illustrators as part of our Southern Delights and Art & Soul of America poster series. 

Now that the calendars are finished, we are giving them to our design clients. (Just call us or swing by the design studio to pick yours up if we have worked together on a design project in the last 12 months!)

And if you are not a design client, don’t worry, you can still get your hands on a calendar for only $19.99 by visiting our site. (What a deal—if you bought 13 prints from our web site, you would spend over $240!) We only created a small batch of calendars to give away, and an even smaller batch to sell. So get yours while you can!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Holiday Packaging

As designers and brand consultants, Christmas usually starts early for us—like in the spring or summer! Our clients who produce products that will sell in December need to start the work months in advance. That means we have to get into the holiday spirit at odd times! It is not too difficult if we crank up a play list of x-mas music while we sample the product we are working on. We had a chance to do that for 3 different clients this year:

Williams-Sonoma Deluxe Peppermint Bark Packaging:
Our friends at Williams-Sonoma’s design department call us up every now and then, asking us to help out with special packaging projects. We got a call in the summer of 2013 to help them create a special-edition 15th Anniversary Peppermint Bark Package for the holidays.

The challenge was to get into the holiday spirit while it was 85 degrees outside and create an ornate, festive package design that payed homage to previous collectible tins from the last 15 years. (Each year, Williams-Sonoma creates a new collectible tin for their delicious peppermint bark candy.) For this special occasion, they wanted us to help them create a large, flamboyant tin (containing enough bark to feed 20 people!) We experimented with a variety of colors, fonts and layouts.
Staff designer Ligia Teodosiu and Creative Director Joel Anderson went to work on a few different design options. The one that was picked had some fancy hand-lettering and lots of classic detailed engraving-like art. We got a sample of the finished product and ate all the peppermint bark within a few days. Christmas definitely came early this year!

Sparkle Bark Packaging:
Of course, not every client develops their products 6 months in advance—a lot of smaller entrepreneurs have to move a lot more quickly—especially when an idea hits them just a few weeks before the holidays!

The Bang Candy Company makes quirky, delicious artisan chocolate. Founder Sarah Souther called in a panic, asking us to help her create a brand look and a package for her latest holiday confection called Sparkle Bark. The print-ready art had to be done in less than 2 weeks. We jumped into action and designed a label that would showcase her amazingly delicious pink and dark chocolate topped with peppermint candy, glazed with edible glitter and finished off with pop rocks candy. She added a sparkly ribbon to give the entire package a festive, artsy holiday vibe. We ate lots of the candy and remarked that every bite tasted like a Christmas party in your mouth... and of course, that line made it onto the package—free of charge!

Check out Bang Candy Co.

Roast, Inc. Holiday Packaging:
A fantastic Nashville-based coffee roasting company asked us to create a special holiday gift tin for their delicious whole beans. The label needed to celebrate Christmas in Music City. It also had to sell their coffee, and be so attractive that customers would want to keep the tin and display it for years to come as jolly holiday kitchen decor.

Since we only had 3 weeks, we drank lots of coffee and designed like deranged elves. We delivered on time, and while we were at it, we created some other non-holiday labels based on art from our Coffee Collection poster series. These new collectible tins will be swanky gifts for other occasions all year long!

Visit the 8th & Roast Facebook page.