I was asked by aiga pittsburgh to design the promotional material for their annual award show PGH365. its THIS FRIDAY NIGHT – (info)
I said no initially.
i have little patience for most professional groups, awards in general, and design by committee in any capacity. AIGA is an exception. They are an organization that makes their mission the promotion and celebration of design in all aspects. The amount of support they have offered me over the years has been humbling and in truth, i was honored to be asked. once i realized what they were actually asking…
i proudly accepted their offer.
I was given pieces from years past and told my only constraint would be content. We would be creating some mailers, web graphics, a poster, the awards, and whatever i want to add on top of that. Looking at what had been done for previous years was inspiring. I saw some great work from Nick Caruso, Bearded Studio, and Andrew Twigg.
With that intimidation aside i set out to tackle the project in my own language and on my terms. My background falls heavy with the production ends of offset printing, web development, and of course screen printing. My thought is that people see the end results of design all day. I want to take the attendees on a tour of what production and DIY really feels like.
CommonWealth Press was created from literally nothing. I built my first shop with things i pulled from dumpsters – with no equipment, minimal space, and no money at all. So for this i’m going to take that exact route. Im going to highlight the printing process from end to end – idea to physical piece – do it with what is immediately available – give them the feel of dirty hands – physically working on a design – on a zero budget. Every item will be found, reused, recycled, every image will be with my phone – i will have touched every piece going out. Keep everything simple and direct. Hopefully someone will see it and think “pshh i couldve done that” – because they can. And should.
So now, concept.
The tiny kernel to carry thru everything is the PGH365 tagline. 365 obviously covers the days in the year that this award show spans but i also wanted a spin to make it my own, a nod to the printers that make it happen, something that speaks to the designers overall idea and aesthetic. standing in front of our inkwall i realized how many hours have been spent mixing ink to match each specific vision. to take something as etherial as an idea and use exact industry wide calculations to precisely mix and match that vision. It hit me that the rosetta stone that unites the language of most printers and designers is the Pantone color book. It is gorgeous, functional, and precise.
(if you are a designer and do not use it for print projects – your printers think you’re a dick)
so in a coffee rant with Kim Fox and Bill Krowinski i present the idea of using a pantone swatch to overlay the entire concept of idea to paper, covering ink and every aspect in between. Kim blurts out “Pantone 365c” and the idea was done.
the first piece was the initial mailer:
that piece is a combination of digital printing and traditional offset. everything was printed digitally with registration left to spot color in the actual pantone 365 square on on a traditional press – we coined the term “tradigital” and watching it go down was worth this whole experience.
Thats Dave Kaule from the printing post. He is a swell guy.
from there the signage would be the simple screens we use everyday – exposed (backwards for legibility) and ready to print but appropriated to show people were they can get a drink, see work, or go pee.
then we had another mailer to go out but as happens quite often in committee sessions – it had to be done, printed by the printing post, and off to the mailer AND OUT that very day. I needed a fast solution for a process to work into the concept that was between the ink and printing, naturally thats the mixing stage.
Having to rush for this piece sucked but got stoked when Dave mentioned that green isnt pantone 365c. “I know, its being mixed – like the event, we aren’t there yet”. Lay it on thick.
next was the web version, yeah those are RGB and HEX numbers, youre getting it.
we got to inspect the space – its an old warehouse on north side at a spot called SmartSolutions. They are lending AIGA a raw space, which fits this aesthetic perfectly. I ran some banners around an exposed framework in the center of the room
and all within the parameters of GET SHIT DONE. that 8 foot by 30 foot image is the same that was shot by a cel phone, then boosted in res, and output at 192 lpi because thats what it takes to do that shit.
the event is THIS FRIDAY and i want to keep somethings behind the curtain. we have a pretty rad poster available and are hand making the awards as well. they fit dead in with the rest of this pile.
im so stoked on having done this. the process overall, some of it completely sucked but for the most part it was collaborating with friends, drinking coffee, solving problems, and goofing off. If that was on my gravestone id be pretty stoked and consider it well done.
come hang out – again it is THIS FRIDAY NIGHT – click here for time and location