Some designers have a really easy time when they’re given an open task. I am not one of them.
The artwork above is the latest of these assignments. It was made for a set of calendars we make every year for our bosses at AgencyNet. They hang as office wall art and functional calendars throughout the new year. Visiting clients always comment in appreciation, so it’s a nice touch of custom art work hanging on our walls.
Still, when I get these open ended, “let’s-just-have-fun” assignments at work, my stomach get queasy and my palms sweat a little.
To compensate, I’ve (somewhat ironically) evolved my process into a system that helps me set creative boundaries. I use my instinct, taste and best judgment to guide me to work towards set of constraints. I liken this process to writing a haiku poem— the inherent structure of the format allows me to focus my creativity and, ultimately, find a solution. Though, my method has its pitfalls, it’s easy to fall back on stale habits, most of the briefs we get at AgencyNet are disparate enough to ensure things are kept quite fresh.
My original concept was trying represent each team member with a single icon. I made a spreadsheet, asked people what their thoughts were and began drafting the artwork. I quickly realized that the time it would take to finish symbols for 35+ people was quickly going to become ridiculous and would eventually force me into a position where I’d have to dumb down my concept. I’d drowned myself in self-wrought constraints.
My Haiku had become a novella.
So, I refocused and created new constraints. I decided my new assignment would be to take a cherished object in my life and place it in an element of fantasy. My solution was to turn my dog into a star hopping Space Pup. Envisioning a space trotting scif-i hero sidekick, I transformed my little Boston terrier into a helmet wearing hero that I now have on my wall at home.
I really enjoyed the way this piece came out. One of my favorite detail is his all seeing eye located on his space helmet’s antennae. The simple shapes layered behind help to really draw the eye out and create an unexpected element.
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