It is the rainy season here in Vancouver. This past week has seen a huge amount of water drop from the sky. Whenever the rains are heavy, the manhole cover in front of my home rattles away loudly, sometimes even waking me up in the middle of the night. I have even stood on top of that slab of iron, feeling the power of the storm waters forcing their way upwards, threatening to push the metal circle from its setting.
All the rattling over the past few days reminded me of the artwork that Sue and I submitted for the Ironclad Art contest that the City of Vancouver ran many months ago, in order to find new artwork for the municipalities’ storm and sewer covers.
I know that plenty of professional graphic designers have issues surrounding the logistics and ethics involved with procuring design services via “contests”. Many designers won’t enter a contest just to issue a statement. Just look at the tempest in a teapot the federal government has stirred up with their Canada 150 Logo Design Contest.
Sue and I discussed the merits of entering the Ironclad Art contest, and we both came to the same conclusion… “Let’s go for it”. We were not all that busy in the studio at the time, and it sounded like fun. At least this “contest” had some form of limited design brief, and guidelines for what the City was looking for. The allure of having our design cast in metal and publicly displayed throughout the city for decades to come was very appealing. We knew our chances of being chosen were slim, but the opportunity to design something as esoteric as a manhole cover was to great to pass up.
Looking back on our designs months later with fresh eyes, I think they turned out really well. Although our submissions were not chosen to be produced, Sue’s squirrel design was short listed.
… and we were right, it was fun.
We had an incredibly busy summer. One of the projects that kept us from hitting the beach was From Rationing To Ravishing, an exhibit that we developed for The Museum of Vancouver. Opened last month, From Rationing To Ravishing is the follow up show to the extremely popular Art Deco Chic exhibit that we designed for MOV back in 2012. Guest curated by the charismatic duo of Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke, the exhibit traces the shifting Vancouver fashion landscape from wartime austerity to girlish glamour throughout the 40s and 50s. We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the Museum… they trusted us to develop all elements of the brand for the show; everything from the entire exhibit and accompanying graphics, to the exhibit catalogue, to the marketing materials.
There are over 80 garments on display, accompanied by many accessories and other period pieces. Highlights include: wartime wedding dresses (one made from a parachute!), Boeing Vancouver overalls, cocktail dresses, and fashions designed by renowned European couturiers, including Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Elsa Schiaparelli.
You really should go check it out (open until at least March, 2015), but until you do, we’ve got more photos for you here.
Also; an article in the Georgia Straight, a post on Vancouver is Awesome, Youtube clip from Go! Vancouver, and a CBC Radio interview with Ivan Sayers.
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of our good friend and studiomate Loki.
When Sue and I started 10four back in 2002, there was never a doubt that Loki would play a role in our new graphic design studio. Being your own boss has a few perks, and one of them is being able to bring your dog with you to work. Having Loki around in our office has always conveyed the kind of work environment we want to promote, and the casual, easy going attitude we express. Our clients enjoyed seeing her in our space and often asked about her on the days she stayed home. Even the mailman was happy to see her.
Over the last 12 years, we’ve moved the design office for 10four 3 times (four if you count moving offices within the same studio space), and every time Loki has had a desk to curl up under and a pillow in the corner. Last week I took that pillow home from the office for the last time, and it broke my heart.
Loki was with us from the start, and she will be missed… very, very much.
I’ve just wrapped up another photo shoot for Danica Studio’s Spring/Summer 2015 catalog. I had the pleasure of working with photographer Tanya Goehring again. Yay!
Looking back at some of the photos I styled a few years ago makes me cringe. I like to think I’ve learned a few things about composition, lighting and propping since then. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered the perfect combination for a successful style shot: weathered background + old metal prop + product + moody lighting, as evident in the images below.
One of the highlights this season was making fake ice cream by mixing icing sugar, icing and food colouring.
Here’s a sneak peak of the no-melt ice cream, some before & after behind the scene images and a few of my favs.
no melt ice cream (try it!)
weathered background + old metal prop + product + moody lighting
before & after
a few of my favs
Vancouver Imagined; The Way We Weren’t is a fun little exhibit we designed for the MOV Space at the Museum of Vancouver. Created for Guest Curator Jason Vanderhill (of the awesome Illustrated Vancouver blog), the exhibit features 21 architectural and urban projects that were proposed, yet never realized in Vancouver.
At the Museum of Vancouver until at least May 11, 2014.
We are happy to announce the Planet Bam Bam project that we have been working on for the last few months has finally launched. Planet Bam Bam charms are collectible little characters that are sold in blind bags. 10four helped the team at Planet Bam Bam develop the initial branding, packaging, POP displays, website, and the first series of charms for the toys’ North American launch.
Product is finally being distributed to retail stores, and if you are lucky, you might be able to get a hold of some just in time for the holiday season. They make great stocking stuffers!
More photos here.
I apologize. I really am sorry. Our updating and posting to the 10four site this past summer has been very weak. I promise we will do better in the future.
The past couple of months have been crazy busy, and to top it all off, we needed to find a new home without a lot of notice. Luckily, we managed to locate a suitable new office not too far away on the opposite side of Gastown, and the move wasn’t a complete disaster. The home for our Vancouver design studio calls back to our roots, as it is only a few blocks away from the studios where both Sue and I started our design careers. As a bonus, I also get an extra hit of nostalgia, as we are a few doors down from the practice room where I spent many, many hours in my former life as a failed rock star.
If you want to mail us a “hello” card, you can now find us at #213 – 119 West Pender Street.
This is the last few days to catch the Electric Company’s Production of You Are Very Star. We’re proud to have been involved in crafting the promotional image of the show’s innovative run at the HR MacMillan Space Centre here in Vancouver.
Reviews Here, Here and Here.
Catch a showing if you can.
A few months back, we were asked to participate in the Canada Line Public Art Program. The result was an exhibit organized by Working Format and presented at the Waterfront Station’s Platform Gallery. The theme of the show was “Intersections“, as interpreted by various Vancouver graphic design studios.
“Great cities are defined by great intersections; Locations that play host to significant historical events, define the culture of a neighbourhood, and are the meeting point for diverse groups of people. Intersections invites seven Vancouver-based designers to explore seven essential locations throughout our city.”
Through luck of the draw, our Intersection was Broadway & Granville.
What a great project to be involved in. I have many fond memories of the Broadway & Granville intersection. Early in my career, I had a run at another design start-up (before I was fortunate enough to partner with Sue) that was located in that neighbourhood, and I used to grab my coffee at that intersection almost every morning. Years ago I had taken some photos of the historic Dick building with the spinning neon Kaplan Education Centre sign (while it still worked). We also dug up some historic photos of the long gone Aristocratic dinner that used to be a late night go to staple while I was in art-school. All that is left of the dinner is a faux neon sign in the window of the Chapters bookstore that is on the same corner. The shopping along that stretch of Granville is great, and only getting better. So many aspects to focus on. However, in the end, what it really came down to was public transit.
“The focus for the Broadway & Granville poster was the prevalence of public transit found at the intersection. Six major bus routes converge on the intersection and the 99B-line along the Broadway corridor moves more people than any other transit route in North America. The layered, abstract photograph of the trolley cables creates visual texture in the background of the poster. The custom typography is reminiscent of the hand painted shop signs and storefront windows from the high society days of the neighbourhood.”
Other posters on display are by Glasfurd and Walker, Post Projects, Seterah Shamdani, State Creative, Working Format, and Zach Bulick. Great company indeed. Please visit the exhibit, up until later this summer.
I’m a sucker for good graphic design books (what designer isn’t?). A pile of books showed up around Christmas time. Some of them were X-mas gifts, others arrived from the library. Luckily, I was able to dig into them over the holidays and become inspired by what I read. Here is a quick rundown of what was awesome on the book pile;