Atari, the pioneering Silicon Valley company, helped birth the modern video game industry. The company also broke ground with its use of powerful artwork and design to communicate the energy and emotion of their new games in retail and advertising.
I spent several years tracking down and researching the unsung creative minds behind the art and design of Atari. This artwork inspired generations of creatives and left a lasting impression on the larger culture. In addition to interviewing artists, designers and executives, I also curated rare artwork and artifacts for this book—from original art to production slides, to vintage packaging and design prototypes. Working with book designer Jason Adam, I art directed the book and produced this best-selling design history.
The Museum of Video Game Art (MOVA) is an emerging organization focused on the preservation, curation and celebration of classic video game art—including the illustration, design, marketing, and industrial design associated with these iconic games.
In addition to my role as founder of this organization, I also designed the logo and print collateral for MOVA. The identity is meant to suggest the pixelated graphics of these early games, using a tight grid structure and repeating pattern throughout. I also created multiple versions of the logo based around the same grid system whose patterns increase or decrease in complexity depending on the size of the logo.
After YMCA redesigned its brand identity to reflect a return to its nonprofit roots and core areas, my team partnered with YMCA of the USA’s innovation team to create a series of downloadable activities. These simple and engaging activities were created to help families live healthier lives while working, playing, and spending time together. From the inventive and yummy Snack Lab, to tips on being a Neighborhood Explorer, or Supermarket Treasure Hunts, we developed the activities for learning, bonding, and maximum enjoyment. Aligning with the YMCA's national brand efforts, we illustrated, edited, and curated these new additions to the Y's Healthy Family Home initiative.
Drawing on the success of its video game-inspired art shows, iam8bit has evolved into a gamer-oriented lifestyle brand, creating both independent products and collaborations with big players in the gaming industry. A partner and I worked with the company to design a new and flexible identity that would allow iam8bit to shift and change in service of their creative needs or latest collaboration.
The primary mark is technical—a combination of sharp angles and rounded edges, approachable and aware of its video game roots. The style lets it play well with a variety of swappable eights that the team uses in different contexts.
This book was a quirky companion to the wonderfully weird world of Hohokum, an adventure game published for the Sony Playstation PS4. The game itself is a whimsical world of oddball characters and offbeat worlds, and we designed a book to capture the feel of each of these strange lands. The book sported eye-popping production—a wonderfully textured cover, multiple gatefold spreads, clear foil stamping, vivid inks and a rainbow ribbon bookmark modeled after the main character, a kite-shaped being. Of course.
Designed for a personal project, this logo was my attempt to capture some hope from the tragedy of September 11, 2001—that our better natures would prevail after the dust settled. Looking back at the designs nearly twenty years later, it seems to drip with more than a little unpleasant irony.
Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC) provides lighting rentals and consulting for museums, trade shows, and corporate meetings throughout the United States. The team’s lighting designers and technicians focus both on the details of great equipment, but but also a creative problem-solving approach. I redesigned the ILC identity to better capture the company's creative spirit while powerfully "spotlighting" the singular, theatrical nature of the their lighting work.
Designed for an early social platform for women, this identity was meant to communicate a cheeky attitude, poking fun at the objectification of women. The platform, created as a safe space for women to connect and have honest dialogue, was intended to own and subvert our culture’s views on women.
TRIP (The Residents of Irving Park) in Chicago is a neighborhood community organization that has been working and advocating for residents since 1976. Both working and eventually living in the neighborhood, it made sense to help the organization during its re-naming and relaunch. This logo suggests forward motion and navigating the rules and politics of the city of Chicago and each unique neighborhood.
This logo redesign was created for an urban church in Chicago. Reach out—physically, spiritually and emotionally—was a theme that continued to surface during the design exploration process. My design brought to bear the grittiness of the Near North neighborhood of the church (near the former site of the infamous Robert Taylor Homes projects) coupled with the iconic architecture of the city.
AIGA is the professional association for design. On behalf of designers of all stripes, AIGA works to promote design as a whole, highlighting the fact that designers serve critical roles as communicators, educators and innovators in culture and the marketplace.
To celebrate an annual paper show in Chicago, I created a set of three art prints that would highlight the creativity of printing and paper, and serve as an AIGA Chicago marketing piece. Each print plays on the theme of unique voices coming together. Each waveform is a visual representation of unlikely vocal pairings: Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man" combined with Lady Gaga’s "Let's Dance," Ronald Reagan's “tear down this wall!” speech combined with “Wonderwall” from Oasis. Printed on colored paper stocks with white inks, the soundwaves yielded beautiful patterns and challenged audiences to add their own voices to the conversation.
We designed several issues of Open Road magazine for Kia Motors, sent to all Kia car owners. This bi-annual publication was filled with features, insights and info on upcoming models. Our redesign for Kia and Leaders Media America captured the energy and design sophistication of the Kia brand. In addition to art directing some of the photographic features, we also simplified the design, streamlined the typography and put the focus back on the cars to shift the reading experience into a higher gear.
In the span of 15 years, BevReview evolved a humble blog in 2001, into the preeminent online drink publication for beverage aficionados. Editor Steve Tanner dove into the world of soft drinks, teas, flavored waters, and energy drinks with insider aplomb and requisite sarcasm. To match its growing audience, I designed a new logo to distill the brand’s "friendly insider" essence into visual form. BevReview had carved out a unique mindspace, and I helped to refine its brand messaging with a new tagline: "We think about what you drink".
Created as a publishing and creative imprint, Plastic Highway seeks to curate and explore subjects at the intersection of art and pop culture. The logo I designed takes its cues from the plastic model kits of our youth and interstate road signs, at the place where mass culture and high art collide.
Neenah Paper, purveyors of specialty uncoated papers, have supported design organizations around the country for decades. For a panel discussion with AIGA Chicago entitled “Loose Change,” I designed a set of event materials--a set of "collector coins" highlighting the impressive roster of panelists and Neenah's gorgeous paper stocks. Each coin featured a unique portrait of the designer, tucked away in a custom orange wallet. The great discussions were wide-ranging and loose, but the design was anything but.
Gruppo Cordenons has made high-quality fine papers for print and packaging since the Italian mill's birth in 1715. Their stylish and impressive paper line allows brands and designers to create fashionable objects of desire and beauty. For a product launch event, I designed invitations and print materials as well as the name and visual identity for the event. The split-fountain letterpress printed invitations were accompanied by clear foil blocked letterpress notebooks distributed at the event.
This international missions agency was ready to move into a new era for the organization. In the midst of that transition, it was clear that re-naming and re-branding work was necessary to help define and clarify its new role in the Christian nonprofit world.
I worked along with the internal team in naming exercises and consulting, and redesigned the complete identity for Reliant, 25 years after its original founding. The new logo, print materials for giving, website assets and iconography were all designed to communicate the energy, strength and solid support structure for missionaries across the globe.
EPIC teams volunteer creative professionals with worthy nonprofits for intense, 8-week sprints—to create needed programs and materials they need to function.
In addition to participating some projects myself, I also designed a poster advertising one of EPIC’s parties, which celebrated the completed work for the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, American Nutrition Association and Arts of Life. The poster was designed to showcase how creativity can catalyze organizations, and hand silkscreened on dark blue, stippled paper stock.