Saturday, July 26, 2008

Disney Appropriated My Work

I created the above illustration in 1996 while experimenting with some of Photoshop's new filters and effects. I wanted to try the ZigZag distortion filter to get the effect of a sky reflected in rippling water. I thought it needed additional visual interest, so I found a photo of an oak leaf and an acorn crafted out of wood and composited them onto the background.

I then published the finished piece on my website entitling it Acorn Sky.

A few weeks ago, I glanced at the TV and was astonished to see this same image, or one very much like it - animated with the water rippling concentrically outward and the title "Great Oaks" appearing on the water. As I continued to watch, hardly believing my eyes, I learned that it was the animated movie logo preceding the movie 101 Dalmations. I learned later that the same production company also created Flubber. I got a copy of Dalmations, aimed my camera at the tube and recorded the video below and then edited in my original graphic for comparison.

I have no comment or other than I doubt that it was an amazing coincidence that two people would independently arrive at imagery that is so nearly identical and within the same time frame. The likely explanation is that some animator out there searched Google images for "acorn" and stumbled across my piece. I guess I'm glad it was put to good purpose and that the guy made a few bucks from it.

It's not as if I haven't used the ideas of others once in a while. As Picasso is purported to have said, "Good artists copy. Great artists steal."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Walmart Logo Parody

I am working on a parody of the new, sucky, Walmart logo for a citizen's group that is trying to keep a super Walmart out of their fair city. I've taken the corporation's new slogan "Save money. Live better." and altered it a bit.

I invite your ideas for another new slogan.

Update: Another with emphasis on the China connection. And by the way, the first logo was a finalist in the Walmart logo redesign contest. This second one is my idea of how the winning entry could have been better.

What is the Name of this Character?

There is a "correct" answer. Let us know if you think you know.

Here is a hint: "Bush Jr."

The hint is obscure and may not help you come up with the right name, but it will confirm it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So, Just What IS a Logo Anyway?

I've done my fair share of logo design over the last few years. Clients understand that their business or enterprise should have a logo and know that they want somebody such as myself to create one for them. That is the good news. Many businesses don't make much of an effort to have a good logo and some don't bother to have a logo at all.

But when my services are engaged, I've discovered that I often have to educate my clients, not just about the process of creating a logo, but about a logo actually is. And their questions and confusions are not an entirely silly.

So here are some basic guidelines that I like to lay out up front to define and describe what a logo is.

  1. A modern logo is usually a flat, two dimensional, simple iconic shape. Otherwise called the logo icon.
  2. Ideally, that shape should work using one color only.
  3. Considering the first two guidelines, color, shading or texture appliled to the shape may be considered to constitute or be integral to the logo, but could also be considered optional and/or dependent on the context of any particular application or required format.
  4. Often, the name of the business, enterprise/ project, is an integral part of the logo, if not the logo itself.
  5. Most often, the name is text or characters that can be considered separate from the logo icon. I call it the logo text.
  6. The logo icon and the logo text can be used together or separately or in any combination that is best suited to the particular application or required format.
Just to take a most recent case history.

The client created this nice image himself some years ago. It is a totally flat, two dimensional shape defined by one color (white).

At some point, an artist applied some effects and textures and transformed it into a polished metal image.

I recently reapplied the metallic image onto another shape with some effects applied to give it the appearance of an embossed gold foil seal.

They are all logos of sorts, but the basic, essential logo that remains at the heart of them all is the original 2D shape.

A well designed logo doesn't have to be just one thing. It can be like a living thing that is adaptable to a changing environment. Like a person whose face and body - and character - remain the same, even as he or she dresses appropriately for the particular occassion.

And then there are the questions for which I have no good guidelines: Should a logo icon convey a message or information? Should it be interpretable, and if so, should it have meaning? Or is it more important, or just as important for it to be well crafted and distinct?

Note: I use the above hawk logo because it is the one I am currently working with and its various iterations provide a good, real world example. The owner is well aware of what a logo is and is not.

Edgy Photo Stylin'

Here is a tutorial for a cool little technique for adding style to portrait and glamour photography. Click the double arrows in the upper right corner for viewing options, or click here to view in a new window.

Edgy Photo Stylin' - Get more Creative Writing

Monday, July 14, 2008


A friend asked me today if I am not a believer in synchronicity. My answer is that yes, I do. It's happened to me often. I don't know if it has meaning or purpose. I'm agnostic, or even more than agnostic about that.

I am a great believer in coincidence. Sometimes amazing coincidence. When it's good, it's serendipitous. But there is that six degrees of Kevin Bacon thing and there are sound mathematical reasons for some apparent amazing coincidences.

I don't know about psychic energies creating such. Not sure at all. I am a big fan of science and empiricism and credible scientists have little to say about psychic energy. Although quantum physics, from what I've heard about it, sounds pretty mystical.

Here's an interesting set of circumstances that happened only a few weeks ago.

I was in the hardware store looking to buy a step ladder and was on my cell bullshitting with this very person who asked me the synchronicity question of earlier today. He asked where I was and I told him where I was and what I was there for. As I learned at that moment, he is, apparently, a leading authority on ladders, and he recommended the very brand and model that was there before me. He explained in depth his several reasons and theories about ladderdom, and so I'm sure he helped me make the right choice.

I had planned on buying a shorter size and the 8 footer my friend recommended wouldn't fit into my sedan. A guy in a wheelchair next to me in the parking lot, who had to hoist himself into the cab of his truck, made a comment or two and I joked about me putting it in the back of his flatbed and having him follow me to my house. He said he would be glad to. I joked that I only lived 20 miles away and, surprisingly, he said his offer was still good. I told him that I actually didn't live that far. He told me he was going home and described his route. I told him my home was right along the way and that I accept his offer. He asked the address we were going to in case we lost each other. I told him and he said he knew the street. He explained that when he was in high school in the early 70s he had dated a girl who lived on my street. He told me her name and it was the daughter of the previous owner of our house. My wife is friends with her sister who used to live next door when we first moved there.

The dude had been to my house before it was my house!

So, with a good deal of trust and confidence, I put the ladder on his flatbed, and he drove it to my house for me! I don't usually have strangers in parking lots deliver my large household purchases. In fact, I never do.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rob's Snapshots

Heck, just sharing some personal photos on a slow Sunday.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The CT Rapport: A Compendium Of Stuff

YouTube - Bill Moyers addresses NCMR 2008
Legendary journalist Bill Moyers address the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 7, 2008. Presented by For more speakers...

Reflections: Mine Is Longer than Yours: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker by Michael Kinsley
The last boomer game.

Inner city snail - a slow-moving street art project

Some Progress on U.S. Government's Financial Statements But Significant Problems Remain
The federal government's fiscal exposures totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007, up more than $2 trillion from September 30, 2006, and an increase of more than $32 trillion from about $20 trillion as of September 30, 2000," Walker said. "This translates into a current burden of about $175,000 per American or approximately $455,000 per American household.

360 degrees of Sen Obama's Detroit rally | | Detroit Free Press
This is a panoramic image. It does not represent a specific moment in time, but it captures the environment over several seconds, much like a video camera moving in a circle. It is created from a series of overlapping photos.

Truthdig - Cartoons - War Memorial
2008/06/22 - - War Memorial

"The Greatest Mass Exodus of Vehicles" in U.S. History? - Environment and Energy

Believe Me, It's Torture: Politics & Power: by Christopher Hitchens
What more can be added to the debate over U.S. interrogation methods, and whether waterboarding is torture? Try firsthand experience. The author undergoes the controversial drowning technique, at the hands of men who once trained American soldiers to resist—not inflict—it.

Let's Escrow Our Money to Keep Obama Progressive |

Onion's report, which predated this recent event
World's Oldest Neurosurgeon Turns 100 | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
Nothing can stop Carl Wainwright from doing what he loves best -- performing surgery on the human brain.

YouTube - George Carlin: education and the owners of America