Thanks to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN), my family and I had a chance to spend some time with Jane Goodall before the San Francisco Expo.
Art Paul designed the Playboy logo in 1953, which has to be, one of the most recognizable brand symbols ever.
I met Author Paul at an Illinois Arts Alliance fundraising event. The small agency I worked for was awarded the chance to design the prestigious invitations for the ball that was being held in Chicago. Marshall Ross and Jim Gleason, the head creatives at my first agency, Mitchner, Ross, and Partners gave me a chance to design it. Marshall and Jim were always generous that way. I designed it with the guidance of Jim Gleason, who was a tedious craftsman and AD.
After asking many favors from printers and production resources, the invitations were finished and looked fabulous, and it had to be fabulous, because donors of an art foundation were going to see it. It was elaborate, with laser cuttings (which were a new thing back then), and 8 or so colors, including multiple spot varnishes, and multiple pieces and envelopes. It was nice, and the client was very pleased. (I still have it somewhere, I will try and dig it up.).
Since the project was pro bono, the agency didn't get paid, but did get invitations to the event. I'll just say, this kid from Kentucky had never been to something this fancy. We sat at a large round table, and I sat next to an older man with a grey beard. I had no idea who he was, even after he gave me his name. As I threw back free cocktails, our small talk evolved, and he told me that he rarely attended fundraisers.
"So why did you come to this one?" I asked.
He responded, "Because I thought the invitation was different from the ones I usually get in the mail. It was well done, and interesting."
A compliment is a compliment, it felt good when I told him I designed it, but the real charge came when Jim or Marshall later that night told me about Art Paul's accomplishments.
Ok, so I'm not meeting Mother Theresa, but to a rookie AD/designer, that was large, and the story is a superb reminder of how important it is to have face to face meetings with impressive people, or heroes, or industry leaders, etc. It does give you inspiration. For me, at least.
By the way, check out Art Paul's other works, excellent art, design, and typography.
"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand." -Mark Twain
In our house growing up, at the bottom of the steps to the basement was one of those inspirational posters, with a single large photo of two mountain climbers traversing a breathtaking mountain top, and a line of copy that read, "Anything can be done with enough care and confidence."
Every time I descended those steps -- for years, it was in my face.
Even though I am a Reds fan, no matter who is playing, professional baseball at it's finest is a sight to see -- all of it, offense, defense, and the duel. Still played with a ball of leather and string.
He believed he was born with a special gift that allowed an energy to run through his body. I'm sold. I've loved his music for some 40 years, and will always.
Is that a long "i", or a short "i", we wondered when they first came out. It didn't matter, as soon as they were born we loved them. There was just something about the design and presentation that spoke to us.
Later in life as an Art Director, I followed every brand move Nike made. I was dazzled by how they broke through the clutter on so many levels. Creatively speaking, that is where I set the bar -- scary-good work in the early days.
And now I read the book and discover the details of it's birth. Is it a book on business? Adventure? Philosophy? Struggle? Victory? Love? Yes, all of it.
Read it, and be inspired to make yourself or something great. ...and the part about Pre will give you chills...
Study a great brand.
In Mark Zuckerberg's short life he has proven he can create billions of dollars of wealth for himself, but prior to Facebook, what did he do in his life to prove he is a humanitarian? Was he a Boy Scout at least?
You can read and study a lifetime, but if you lack travel your wisdom will lack authenticity.
When a great idea comes to me, it's no light bulb above my head, it's more like a fire under my ass, which literally makes me jump to my feet and start pacing.
Thanks for the performance, my fellow Kentuckian.
(in no order)
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I did a bundle of brand images with Art Director and friend, Hannah Bailey. She beautified and CLIF-ified. Here's a few that are currently up on the website.