Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Project Spotlight: Photo Booth instruction manual.

Burn Creative was recently hired by Texas based Randal Stout Entertainment to design a Photo Booth instruction manual. Rather than going with a boring all text brochure the design incorporates an illustration style and layout that is a play on Airline safety brochures. The instruction manual will show users how to operate the Photo Booth and provide ideas for poses with illustrated samples.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazing advertising...

It's hard to believe that anything like this was ever acceptable. And yes, these were real ads. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Bad typefaces...

Pictured above: Comic Sans, Hobo, Papyrus, Danube, Copperplate.

Pictured above are 5 of the most commonly used, horrible typefaces, that you should never use. What makes these so bad? It's either bad design, the fact that they are overused or a combination of both. 

Take a stroll trough any grocery store and you will quickly lose count of how many times you see the dreaded "Papyrus" typeface. This has to be the number one, most overused typeface right now. You'll most likely see it prominently displayed on packaging for Asian products or anything that is being marketed as organic or healthy. 

The second most overused typefaces has to be "Comic Sans". Unleashed on the unsuspecting masses by Microsoft,  in 1994 as part of the Windows operating system, Comic Sans has since graced the pages of many a corporate newsletter and daycare sign. It held the top spot on the list of overused typefaces until being dethroned by Papyrus in recent years. 

In a perfect world all printed and electronic copies of these typefaces would be strapped to a rocket and shot into outer space on an intercepting path towards the sun, never to be spoken of again. Unfortunately, this is not happening any time soon so I'll have to settle for spreading the word and getting a few people to make better choices when selecting type.

: )

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gap logo redesign.

Gap Inc., recently rebranded with a new logo and website which can be seen at I really don't see what they were thinking with this redesign. The new logo does not improve on anything that the previous logo may have lacked. The design looks bland and the gradient square in the background doesn't seem to add anything other than a poor attempt at keeping an element from the previous logo. 

This is yet another questionable rebranding effort by a company that should have the resources to do far better work. It will be interesting to see where they go with the rebranding from here. Right now it seems to be a few huge steps backwards. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Crowdsourcing for your graphic design work: Is it a good idea?

For years there have been crowdsourcing websites that run contests for just about any type of graphic design work you may need. You just log on, write a short project description, post the fee you are willing to pay the winner and in no time you will have a no-holds-barred, battle royal of design taking place.

On the surface this may seem like a winning approach for acquiring graphic design services. After all, you will save money since these contests usually run at a fraction of the going rate for design work. You will also have a multitude of designs to select from, from sometimes dozens of designers. Best of all you only have to pay the winner when it's over and done with. Now, how could this possibly not be a good thing?

The reality is that there are serious underlying issues when you take a closer look at crowdsourcing. First of all, you have to wonder who's in the "crowd". Do they really know what they are doing? These sites mainly attract "designers" that aren't really designers at all, or at least not very good ones. Most are just hobbyists that occasionally fiddle around with Photoshop in their spare time. Some are high school and college students that don't have the skill and experience to work without the close supervision of an art director. Others are just not very talented at all, even with formal training and working experience. 

One of the biggest issues with crowdsourcing is the very premise of it, which is a bunch of people working for free with no guarantee of compensation. That type of working situation doesn't exactly attract top level talent or inspire anyone to put forth their best effort. In fact, they will end up putting as little time as possible into your project since they most likely aren't going to be paid anyway. That, in turn, leads to shoddy, low quality work.

The impersonal nature of crowdsourcing doesn't do much to help matters either. It is necessary to get to know a client and their business as much as possible. This helps the designer make decisions on how to go about designing what the client needs and what will suit them best. Reading a few sentences online is not going to accomplish that. Without really knowing you or your business designers are essentially taking a shot in the dark with no real insight into what you need or what it will take to do the job right. 

After looking a bit more into crowdsourcing it should be easy to see that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Yes, you'll save a few bucks, but it will be at the cost of quality and your business image will suffer for it. If you really want the best results then hiring one designer to work on your projects is the way to go about doing so. It just takes a bit of research which starts by looking at designers portfolios online, asking questions about their services and following through with a quote request.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Logo selected for new LogoLounge publication.

A logo designed by Burn Creative for BITS (Banking Infrastructure & Technology Services), will appear in the upcoming 2011 release of LogoLounge Master Library Vol. 3, Shapes and Symbols. Burn Creative has had logos published in other LogoLounge books including "LogoLounge 5" and "Master Library, Animals and Mythology".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Golden State Warriors logo redesign.

Last week the Golden State Warriors basketball team unveiled a new team logo and branding elements. When I first saw this I honestly thought it was a fake logo posted as a joke by someone on the forum I was looking through. I was later shocked to find out that it was in fact the real deal after reading an official article about the rebranding.

The logo is supposed to be an homage to the "The City" logo that was on the team jerseys from 1966 to 1971. That vintage logo is nothing to brag about but it at least has that kitschy, nostalgic, old school flavor that is indicative of that period in time. Unfortunately, the only flavor the new logo has is the bitter taste of flat out bad design.

According to Warriors president Robert Rowell, the logo has a "clean and traditional look", but plain and boring would be a more accurate description. It seems to be everything that an NBA logo shouldn't be. The logo is generic and seems more fitting for some sort of corporate organization or event than an NBA team. The bridge illustration is amateurish and the choice of Copperplate for the awkwardly set type is not very appealing at all.

The previous Warriors logo, even with the issues in the way the warrior figure is illustrated, is still far batter than the new design. You would think that they would take this opportunity to create a stronger logo that would better represent the team. Instead, they ended up with a poorly executed design which I can honestly say has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. 

I have a feeling that this logo will get the ax and be redesigned again after one season. If they're smart they should be back at the drawing board right now and just have a new design done before the next NBA season even starts. 

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Oops: Russel Christoff VS Taster's Choice...

While shopping at a drug store in 2002 former model Russell Christoff noticed something he didn't expect. On the front of a Taster's Choice coffee label was his face, only 16 years younger.

This story begins back in 1986 when Christoff spent two hours posing for pictures for Taster's Choice. He received $250 dollars for the job with the condition that he would receive an additional $2000 if his photos were selected to promote the product in Canada. 

The image of Christoff went on to be used without his knowing or being paid, from 1997 to 2003 on eight different Taster's Choice labels in 18 countries. 

Nestle USA offered Christoff  $100,000 after he sued the company, which he refused and Nestle declined to pay him the $8.5 million he asked for. The court battle continued and ended with Christoff being awarded $15 million dollars in compensatory damages.

The moral of this story is to make sure everyone has been paid for their services. Either that or think twice when trying to rip someone off to save a few bucks because the little bit of money you think you're saving now is nothing compared to what it will cost you later when you get caught.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Five logos designed by Burn Creative will be published in the upcoming book "Logolicious" which is due to be released in September 2010.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Follow the leader and get lost in the crowd.

Differentiation is key to standing out from competing businesses. Not only differentiation in the service or products provided but just as importantly in how they are presented. So it seems odd when a company's strategy is to make their name, logo and overall visual branding as close as possible to the leading competitor. 

Not only is this completely unoriginal but it can lead to confusion between brands and mistrust of a product or service that is clearly just playing copycat. The first thing that comes to mind when you see similar packaging to a leading product is "cheap knock-off". That is certainly not how you want potential customers to perceive your brand. 

Problems can also arise from this tactic because you are essentially banking a large part of your business on the ability of another company to stay popular. What if for some reason the leading brand falls out of favor with consumers? You are then automatically associated with their downfall as well.

The best strategy is to create your own visual identity based on how you want consumers to see your product and what it has to offer. This will give you credibility and be more memorable in the minds of consumers. A well designed brand will stand on its own merits and your business will be far better off for it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Carlisle Theatre Poster

This is the new poster design for the Carlisle Theatre. They have hired me for the past four years to create the theatre poster, program and print advertising. All of the materials tie together with the same images, color scheme and general design to create a unified look.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oops: Nebraska ETV Network VS NBC...

NBC went through a logo rebranding in 1975 only to be sued soon after by Nebraska ETV Network for trademark infringement. The two logos were virtually identical using two inverted trapezoid shapes to create a stylized "N" icon. ETV paid only $100 for the design of their logo while the NBC logo redesign broke the bank at over $600,000.

The two networks came to an out of court settlement worth over $1 million. NBC got to keep all rights to their nifty new logo in exchange for giving ETV a color mobile unit and other equipment worth over $800,000. NBC also paid an additional $55,000 for ETV's legal fees and rebranding.