Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category


Roy Lichtenstein American Flag, 1985 (above).

At work our design team spends lots of time looking at all things America(n) and objects that symbolize American style. And what does this better than the American flag? Nothing! One of my new interests is finding different ways the flag can been graphically re-represented, especially by designers and artists. I’d never really thought about the American flag in this way, so I love seeing how creatively it can be recreated. In this post are some of my favorite modern twists on the classic American classic. Get into it, and may God continue to bless America.





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Sonny Clark Blue Note record cover

Sonny Clark Blue Note Album Cover (above).

The other week I blogged about vintage jazz album covers and today I wanted to share a second round of favorites from this period. Many of these album covers were designed by Reid Miles for Blue Note Records. According to Wikipedia, “After working in New York in the early 1950s for John Hermansader and Esquire magazine, Miles was hired in his own right around 1955 by Francis Wolff of the jazz record label Blue Note to design album covers when the label began releasing their recordings on 12″ LPs. Miles designed several hundred covers, frequently incorporating the session photographs of Francis Wolff and, later, his own photographs, although many of his later designs dispensed entirely with photographs.” It’s pretty amazing he designed hundreds of these covers, what a great artist output! Hopefully one day I can get my hands on some of these classic covers. Get into it.

Gil Melle Patterns in Jazz Album Cover
Gil Melle Patterns in Jazz Album Cover (above).

Indestructible by Art Blakey. Cover design by Reid Miles

It's Time by Jackie McLean. Cover design by Reid Miles
It’s Time by Jackie McLean. Cover design by Reid Miles (above) – love this one typographically!

Joe Henderson. Cover design by Reid Miles
Joe Henderson. Cover design by Reid Miles (above).

Let Freedom Ring by Jackie McLean. Cover design by Reid Miles
Let Freedom Ring by Jackie McLean. Cover design by Reid Miles (above).

Midnight Blue by Kenny Burrell Cover design by Reid Miles
Midnight Blue by Kenny Burrell Cover design by Reid Miles (above).

The Magnificent Thad Jones Blue Note 1527 12" LP 1956
The Magnificent Thad Jones Blue Note 1527 12″ LP 1956 (above).

Thelonious Monk with Sonny Rollins and Frank Foster (1954)

Thelonious Monk with Sonny Rollins and Frank Foster (1954, above). This particular cover was done by Andy Warhol, he did a whole series of album overs which are pretty great.


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Jazz LP covers from the 1940s to 1990s TASCHEN

I’ve seen this “Jazz Covers” book for a while now and after stumbling across a ton of beautiful typographic + illustrated album covers on pinterest, I couldn’t wait to share a few of my favorites. Most of these classic covers were designed by Reid Myles for Blue Note Records. It’s cool how the design of these covers mimic the expressive nature of the music on the albums. Design inspiring art indeed. I can’t wait to get my hands on this series of books from Taschen. Here are a few of my favorites below. Get into it.

Kenny Dorham Blue Note 4127 (1963)
Kenny Dorham, Blue Note 4127 (1963) (above).

Andy Warhols Early Jazz Cover
Andy Warhol early Jazz cover (above).

BLUE NOTE 7018 - Boogie Woogie Classics - Meade Lux Lewis 1944
BLUE NOTE 7018 – Boogie Woogie Classics – Meade Lux Lewis 1944 (above).

Bongoes Reeds Brass Vol. 2 (1961)
Bongoes/Reeds/Brass Vol. 2 (1961) (above).

Dexter Gordon's Our Man in Paris by Francis Wolff & Reid Miles 1963
Dexter Gordon’s “Our Man in Paris” by Francis Wolff (photo) & Reid Miles (design), 1963 (above).

Duke Ellington Historically Speaking LP 1956
Duke Ellington: Historically Speaking Label: Bethlehem BCP 60 12” LP 1956 Design (above).


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Poster by Donald Brun, 1946

Donald Brun (1909-1999) was a famous Swiss designer during the “golden age” of Swiss design (prior to 1970). I stumbled across his work this morning on Pinterest and I’m absolutely in love with his work for the European shoe company Bata (founded in the 1800’s). Brun’s work is a perfect example of graphic design history from the period: simple, playful, bold and graphic design with vivid colors. Most posters from the period sell for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars today, but they are truly works of art. One day I’ll get my hands on a few of these. I need to see if there are any books on Burn so I can learn more about him and see more of his work. Until I get do, get into more of his work below.

Donald Brun vintage show ad  Sport and tennis shoes by Bata 1950 Donald Brun

b145f80c94463a0532cffee4121a7a40  Bata poster by Donald Brun, 1964

If you love these ads, check out Bata’s 120 years of Advertising Board on Pinterest.


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Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - Extraordinary Things to Do

Last year around this time, I stumbled across the beautiful work of New York artist/illustrator/designer (and Pratt Alum!) Leanna Shapton after a trip to John Derian here in NYC.  I found her book, The Native Trees of Canada, and was immediately hooked. Much like Maira Kalman, I love her illustration style and use of painted typography. Once I spent more time looking into Shapton, I discovered she’s designed many beautiful book covers, and written + illustrated many books of her own. I seriously can’t get enough of her work and style. As my friend Theresa pointed out, “she’s like the Sofia Coppola of graphic design.” So true and well put.  According to the bio on her site, “Shapton grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, and attended McGill Univesity and Pratt Institute. After interning at SNL, Harper’s Magazine and for illustrator James McMullan, she began her career at the National Post where she edited and art-directed the daily Avenue page, an award-winning double-page feature covering news and cultural trends. She went on to art direct Saturday Night, the National Post’s weekly news magazine.” Years later, she started a non-profit imprint, J&L Books, specializing in art and photography books, in addition to writing/illustrating her own.

Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - Native Trees of Canada

Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - A Wander in the Woods

Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - Not That Kind of Girl

Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - Swimming Studies

Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - Swimming Studies2

Leanne Shapton_Book Cover - The Tree



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“Bull” Durham Tobacco billboard from 1800’s, shot by Molly Block

While searching for inspiration relating to a freelance project, I stumbled across the image above (by Molly Block) of an original “Bull” Durham Tobacco billboard dating back to the 1890-1900’s in Goliad, Tx. What’s remarkable about this particular billboard is that until 2013, it has covered and not seen by the public for over 100 years (thus explaining its excellent condition). Normally ads from the period are called “ghost walls” as only the white letters remain due to sun/weather exposure. The story goes that Patsy and Scott Light bought the Troy Cleaners building in auction and discovered an old Durham Tobacco advertisement behind a wall of Sheetrock as they prepared the building to be demolished.

The Victoria Advocate writes,

” … as the couple began removing the Sheetrock from inside Troy Cleaners, they realized a treasure was hidden within the walls. “We came in and there was a hole in the Sheetrock” and Scotty Light thought he had seen part of a bull, Patsy Light said. “So he kept on going. He had a hammer and I had a crowbar and we just kept going and we discovered it.” Under the Sheetrock, they found a massive bull painted onto the exterior wall of the Goliad County Library, which was also the interior wall of the cleaners.

The bull was at one time a 43-foot long ad for Durham Tobacco, which was one of the largest tobacco companies in the world during the late 1800s. The ad was probably painted onto the side of the building by a “wall dog” or traveling painter between 1880-1900, said Patsy Light, a historian.”

ch_goliad_mural_121212_05_197404_t640Patsy and Scott Light (above).

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The entire wall (above – shot by Molly Block – follow link for more shots!)

According to Molly, the sign reads, Blackwell’s (W.T. Blackwell owned the Durham Tobacco brand) Has No Equal. Molly adds, “The Lights, with approval from the Goliad Board of Architectural Review, are in the process of demolishing the building; after the demolition’s completed, the entire ghost sign, which is painted on the north wall of an historic building that houses the Goliad County Library, will be restored and visible by anyone.”

I absolutely love the old-style typography and the bold/graphic look of the ad. As someone that grew up in the Raleigh-Durham area, I love finding new pieces of North Carolina history, especially history from a graphic design/typographic angle! How cool right? Growing up in Raleigh, Durham always had a bad rap, but their downtown is home to several huge brick tobacco factories dating back to the 1800s-early 1900s. Today mary are being converted into loft-style apartments and mixed-use developments. If I still lived in NC I’d definitely love to call downtown Durham home. Finding this buried treasure inspired me to find more “Bull” Durham stuff from the period, so I’ve collected a few more images below.


Vintage “Bull” Durham Tobacco packaging (above and below).




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the optimist_sign2

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and make plans.” – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

The Optimist is a new restaurant and Oyster Bar in Atlanta, Georgia located in a beautifully reclaimed and re-purposed ham-aging house. Now while I may not be the biggest seafood fan, I am head over hells in love with the interiors and graphic design of the place. I like how well the restaurant’s website mirrors the interiors, their blog and overall aesthetic of the place! Everything is related and goes so well together. This is an excellent example of branding done right. The logo and branding of the Optimist was designed by Alvin Diec, a job well done. Together they’ve created more than a restaurant, they’ve created an experience, a lifestyle brand, that emotionally connects with those who eat there and enjoy it. So next time you’re in Atlanta, check out the restaurant, and until then, follow their tumblr blog!  Get into it.

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