Been working on some graphic design jobs, drawing cartoons and logos, spending hours with my face sunk deep into the world of Photoshop. As easy as it is to get sucked in to a project and not realize until my eyes are sore and everything feels like I’ve been on some sort of digital morphine drip for a few hours, suddenly I’ve hit save and I’m walking around in a daze, trying to change the blending effect on the actual sun because it’s too damn bright….Where was I going with this?
Anyway, as much as I joke about the eye strain and carpal tunnel and the woes of trying upload .psd files at 76kb/s, I do really love producing graphic designs. The hours I spend smoothing and tweaking and coloring are always worth it to see my work out there in the world, helping people grow their businesses and becoming a memorable vision for the patrons. Alas, since I’ve been working mostly on this set for the last couple weeks, I haven’t had any time to get into the studio and work in traditional medium. There’s more vegetable paintings coming (and a local solo show in June/July!) and other things I’ve got planned, but for now I’d like to share a couple designs I did in the past.
First is the winning logo design for the Give Cheese a Chance grilled cheese contest. The grill contest is held in November every year at Fonta Flora downtown Morganton. Groups compete to make the best grilled cheese sandwich, visitors buy tickets and get samples of all the sandwiches, and the proceeds all benefit The Meeting Place Mission here in Morganton. Every year a logo contest is held a couple months ahead of the event and customers at Fonta Flora vote for that year’s design. This is the forth year I’ve entered the logo contest and the third year I’ve been the winning design, and it’s become something I make time for in the fall, to make sure I submit a logo for them. We also participated in the actual Grilled Cheese contest this year and had a great time, but sadly did not win that. One of these years. Anyway, here’s the winning logo 2018.
The illustration depicts a cartoonized version of Fonta Flora’s main tasting room in downtown Morganton, morphed into a melty grilled cheese sandwich. I tried to balance the line between something that only locals would really understand with an image that anyone would appreciate.
Here’s another of my winning logos for Give Cheese a Chance, a watercolor Art Nouveau-esque young lady about to enjoy a grilled sandwich in a window. Classic.
Morganton Map, 2018
Here’s the main event, something I never thought I would do, that started as a small commission and snowballed into a huge undertaking that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but that really turned into it’s own infamous project. If I could go back, there are some things I would do differently in terms of advertising and marketing. Taking it on as a personal project benefited me in terms of the freedom of the design, I got to choose what was included, and what they looked like, but it ended up being a point of contention between myself and some local businesses that felt excluded from the map. Well, all in all I made it as a commission for a friend, not as free advertising for everyone. If I end up updating it, I’ll probably go about the whole presentation differently, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. More pressing projects to attend to yet. So here is the 2018 privately-funded Morganton Map in full technicolor:
It was really a fun project to mentally map out the town, using sketches, Google satellite images and just old fashioned walking-around. Morganton is really the perfect town for this “cartoon cartography”, with so much small business gold, surrounding such a centralized Town Square. I love this little town, and I wanted this map to speak to anyone else who loves Morganton too, whether they lived here their whole life, or they just love to visit and take in the awesome local establishments and once-in-a-lifetime mountain views.
So once the Morganton Map started floating around in print form (very limited run, there may be twenty out there in the world, less than 8 remain for sale at local businesses, one was stolen, one was ruined, if you’re interested for future anthropology.), people started getting interested in it. I put the prints up for sale at a handful of local businesses, and then designed a simplified version for t-shirts as a collaboration with the Urban Monk at the Art Fort 321. We screen-printed a good number and sold quite a few at the Morganton Historic Festival, and more thereafter. If you’re interested, contact myself or the Monk and we may be able to find your size. Here’s the back of the tshirts, a version of the Morganton Map dubbed “Morganton Misfits”, shrunk out of full scale and limited to the favorite food&drink (and PopShop/Citizen Earth, because the skateboard and speech bubble looked cool.) With so many thriving businesses, and new ones opening and already opened SINCE I released this, the need for an updated version looks more and more inevitable.
And to bring it all full circle, here is a set of sandwich boards I designed (and engineered and constructed!) for Hangman Tours in Milwaukee, WI. Advertising walking tours of the seedier side of downtown Milwaukee, these handpainted signs are the perfect medium between my traditional painting and graphic design sides.
That’s all we’ve got today on this walk down Design Memory Lane. Hope you like some of these of my favorite projects. If you know a town or institution that might be interested in commissioning some Cartoon Cartography, please give them my name or contact me for more information.