Category Archives: Art Direction

Spotlight: Marco Palena

Marco Palena has instantly become one of my top 5 favourite illustrators with his stunningly detailed and unique illustrations. The winners of this year’s Association of Illustrators’ World Illustration Awards have been announced, and Marco has won ‘The Overall New Talent Award’ for his work for the ‘Bookshops in Blossom’ book (below), which details Italian literature and culture:

His work has featured on the cover of plenty of magazine covers including ‘My Family and Other Animals’ for Illustrated Magazine (2015):

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Marco’s uniquely crafted illustrations are so incredible that it took me a while to realise that they aren’t digital illustrations, but in fact hand drawn!

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He often illustrates in monochrome, but his colour illustrations are just as incredible, and have been featured in children’s books:

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It’s hard to actually find information about Marco and interviews with him despite his successes, but I think his work speaks for itself. Stunning!

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Spotlight: Patrick Sluiter

Motion and 3D Designer Patrick Sluiter has a unique style to say the least. Patrick has designed fantastic work like ‘Strangers’, personal projects and my favourite ‘Stills’ in which he has created an ongoing series based on daily passing thoughts:

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His characters are smooth and almost melancholy which are all carefully created in Cinema 4D, a programme which he has shockingly only been using for 2 years. Patrick cites inspiration in the work of other artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Alexy Préfontaine, Mike Lee, Charlie Harper, Guy Billout, Thomas Hedger, Xavier Cardona and Liron Ashkenazi Eldar.
It’s not just the form of the characters that make his unique style – Patrick’s colour scheme consists of dull, flat colour combinations that go perfectly with the overall aesthetic. Love, love, love his work.

All the animations grew from an idea of a lucid dream that seemed tangible, but would have a sense of abstraction. Some were more ‘out there’ than others but my favourite was a couple that have an outlet and plug prong for faces. There’s a clearly sexual undertone, but the goal was to show compatibility and the subtle motions you use to communicate to your significant other.

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Global Breastfeeding Week: This Sucks

Directed by Jon Lawton, this campaign for Global Breastfeeding Week focuses on the tagline “breastfeeding is nicer than you feeding”. Featuring the empowering and vert apt song “F*** The Pain Away” by Peaches, Lawton powerfully conveys a juxtaposition of a peacefully breastfeeding mother and baby, and people scoffing messy food. It’s illegal to prevent a woman from breastfeeding, yet mothers still feel a stigma attached to feeding their babies in public, often feeling embarrassed and judged.

Jon Lawton, creative director at Stink Studios said:

A month ago I read a news story about a woman being asked to leave a restaurant because she was breastfeeding, which is total bullshit. Have you seen people eating? It’s disgusting. All lips, sauce and gob. It’s like we go backwards in our ability to do the most simple human task. Babies feeding, by comparison, is the most elegant form of the act. The Peaches post-punk track was just perfect. Loud, proud, with a fuck-you attitude. If one mother feels more confident breastfeeding in public because of the film – that’s all I want.

I love the direction Jon has gone in with this short film – it is incredibly empowering and goes to show that breastfeeding (the most natural thing any mammal can do) is in no way comparable to grotesque, slow-mo clips of mouths devouring greasy, processed fast-food.
Check out the GBW website linked above – it’s a shame they haven’t looked into a re-brand to match the bold film.

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Carlsberg: Black and Gold

Design agency Kontrapunkt’s (Denmark) have redesigned cans for Carlsberg’s Black Gold Pilsner. The design features a two-colour scheme with  a matt black top and ring pull. I love a bit of matte:

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Note how they’ve also added a hop leaf shape cut out on the ring pull. The devil is in the detail!

From the cool cat of beers to an overlooked lager in the Carlsberg range, Black Gold needed a facelift to revive its relevance. Paying homage to the historic Black Gold bottles, we designed a darker than dark can that reflects the bold and more full-bodied pilsner experience.

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Carlsberg is one of many brands who have decided to incorporate minimalist design into their branding by stripping back on detail and ornate features.

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Meet the Meat: M&C Saatchi

The Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution (TFHT) teamed up with M&C Saatchi (Tel Aviv) to campaign for the legislation to prohibit prostitution, aiming to put an end to the prostitution industry in Israel. Mortality rates among Israeli female prostitutes are 40 times higher than the rest of the population, so M&C aimed to reduce the demand for prostitution by engaging with consumers who finance the industry.
The message for this campaign is that women are not a product for consumption, so they created a pop-up ‘food’ truck parked opposite the Israeli Parliament selling “women’s meat” sandwiches called ‘Breast Amal’ and ‘Ribs of Yael’, packaged into brown paper bags with real life stories of prostitutes:

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The experiential ‘Meet the Meat’ creative also features a truck with an illustration of a woman’s body divided into ‘cuts’, just like a cow. The vivid and disturbing creative reflects the dark facts – according to a survey by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, 12,500 women, men and teenagers are employed in prostitution in Israel.

Tzur Golan, ECD and Partner at M&C Saatchi, Tel Aviv said:

We can’t stand by and let this continue. It’s important to highlight the fact that every day vulnerable men, women and teenagers are employed in prostitution – and it’s getting worse. The best way to stop the wheels of this industry is to harm demand – if there’s no demand there won’t be supply. We wanted to create meaningful work and will continue to support TFHT as they continue to take a stand against the prostitution industry.

This is an incredible example of using advertising for social change – not just creating awareness in the most basic marketing form, but by using an in-your-face, bold and gross tactic is a sure way to get people talking. Hopefully it will get the government talking too.

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TrueView: Date Series

Creative agency Feed Me Light have teamed up with dating app TrueView for a quirky animation. FML created a series of animated shorts for the new dating service based on the sad fact that dating apps make finding love far less romantic and far more scary:

Labeled the ‘Undateable Suspects’, the series was developed based on a set of characters that had been created from real research on the dangerous individuals you encounter whilst looking for love online. FML’s 3D artist Remy Dupont brought these characters to life, including the likes of Billy Bad Chat, Six Pack Stu, Two Faced Tony and Dirty Pics Derrick:

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Gatorade’s G Active: Water Made Active

Production agency Unit9 teamed up with TBWA/CHIAT/DAY and Gatorade to create an ad for their new low calorie electrolyte water, featuring a “true-to-life water athlete, animated it in mid air, and caught on camera.” 

Film director Cole Paviour was inspired by the work of Shiro Takatani to create this incredible million dollar experiment in the space of just 10 weeks:

Our custom-made “rain rig” dripped water in complete sequence and harmony. It recreated the figure of a real athlete in a liquid animation. Each unit contained 64 litres of water, with 8 units running at any one time. This meant we used half a tonne of water to bring the whole system together.

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This incredible creation was made by firstly capturing a human athlete running, jumping and kickboxing, then using that data the software told the the water rig when to turn the nozzles on and off, using over 2000 switches. The life-like human shape was brought to life by using flash-lighting to illuminate and ‘suspend’ the water droplets in mid air (above), so each frame had a microsecond accuracy. “As a result we transmitted an entire layer of data through the entire system in just a microsecond. We had to take each frame and process it in two ways. First of all to squash it, to compensate for gravitational acceleration, and second to slice it. We stored the data for each frame in a controller unit and triggered it using the camera.”

You can view BTS footage here:

I recommend reading more about the Director here, and you must watch the entire ad in all its HD glory. Essentially, it’s an incredible 3D liquid structure created through software that I can only imagine ever understanding. What a project!

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Lego: Build the Future

Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather (Bangkok) have created wonderful print ads for Lego’s new campaign ‘Build the Future’. No surprise here that they won a Silver Cannes Lions in ‘Print & Publishing’ and ‘Outdoor’ for the campaign. The art direction is absolutely spot on.

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The three careers were chosen as most desirable to children, then CGI studio Illusion (Bangkok) created the pieces using 3D illustration. Locations were strategically selected by Ogilvy for the campaign – the astronaut ad was placed at the planetarium or science museum, the rockstar ad was placed at music schools and the firefighter ad was placed in outdoor playgrounds.

Vice Chairman Nopadol Srikieatikajohn (Ogilvy Thailand) told AdFreak:

Lego’s ultimate purpose is to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future. The brand believes that play is a key element in children’s growth and development. High-quality play enriches a child’s life and lays a strong foundation for adult life.

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Patrons of Pride: Mr President

Ad agency Mr President celebrated pride by creating illustrations to honor 4 iconic LGBT+ icons. Immortalised in the style of stained glass windows, Ellen DeGeneres, George Michael, Nicola Adams, and Laverne Cox were chosen as representatives of love, tolerance and inspiration.

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The agency explained the reason behind the project:

Here at Mr. President we celebrate diversity in all its forms. We don’t care about your gender or sexuality, we think you’re awesome. … Together we talked, laughed, debated and swapped stories before creating our Patrons of Pride campaign honouring four incredible people from the LGBT communities (one from each) – Ellen DeGeneres; George Michael; Nicola Adams and Laverne Cox.

 

It’s nice to see a campaign that has no link to a brand/client or marketing campaign – sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between genuine support for the LGBT+ community or just a marketing ploy.
The illustrations were displayed on windows overlooking Soho Square for Pride in London on Saturday 8th July:

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